MFHS - Nurse-Family PartnershipYour Child's Development

Children learn so much and grow so quickly in their first five years it can be hard to keep up! Although each child develops at his or her own pace, they all follow the same steps. By learning more about those stages, you can help your child grow and thrive!

 As you learn more about your child's development, please remember:

  1. Children need to feel safe and secure in order to learn. If they are stressed, hungry, or feel unsafe, they are not going to learn. Being with adults they can trust opens them up to a world of learning.
  2. Each child develops at his own pace, in their own way. Children do not reach each developmental stage at the same time. they can speed up in one area, and slow down in another.
  3. Although each child develops at her own pace, they all follow the same sequence. It may take one child longer than another to meet each milestone, but they will all follow the same path.
  4. Children learn by doing. They use their whole bodies and all their senses at once. Their brains are developing while they are moving around, which is why play is so important to a child's development.
  5. Children's skills build on each other. A child's learning grows based on the skills they already know, which is why early learning is so important.

Developmental Stages

Although each child develops at his own pace, all children follow the same developmental stages. In the first two years, children typically reach a new stage every three months. Here are some resources to help you understand what's happening in your child's development during each stage.

  • Watch Me Grow!" Developmental Stages Checklist. Created by Pennsylvania Early Intervention Services, this brochure provides a checklist of skills for each developmental stage from birth to five years. Families should add a check if the child can do at least two of the things in each line. If there are boxes unchecked, or there are concerns about their child's development, families can contact the CONNECT hotline at 1-800-692-7288 for help.
  • Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards and Wheel. Pennsylvania's Office of Child Development and Early Learning developed Early Learning Standards from birth through kindergarten to help teachers and families understand each stage of development and create activities that help each child develop. The standards are divided by both age group and skill area, such as creative thinking and expression and language and literacy development. These standards are very comprehensive and great for families to use when talking with teachers about their child's progress in a child care/early learning program.

    A great tool for families is the Early Learning Standards Wheel- which provides simple examples of skills expected for each age group. You can request copies of the wheel by contacting your local LEARN team.