Approaches to Learning

Infants are not aware of their associations until they are approximately six months old. The first steps for babies are taken at eight to twelve months, by pulling themselves up onto furniture and taking a few steps unsupported. Between one and two years, most children will begin to walk without assistance. Until that time it is important that the child’s environment be safe and that limits be set.

Infants can’t understand the idea of past or future, but they do know when things have stopped happening. For example, if a ball is rolling on the ground and suddenly stops, an infant will look for it because he does not realize that it has stopped moving. At around seven months of age infants begin to develop object permanence-that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen or heard.

Toddlers are at a new developmental stage which brings a whole host of new challenges for parents and caregivers. The average toddler gains about two new words a day between eighteen months and thirty months, thus increasing his communication abilities greatly. After thirty months most children start to use sentences of 2-4 words in length.

Between twenty-four and thirty months children learn about simple cause and effect: if they touch the light switch when mom is in the shower, the lights go out and mom gets mad; If they kick the dog while dad is petting him, he will move away. Toddlers between twenty four and thirty-six months old can stack three to six blocks. During this time most toddlers gain better control of their bodies and improve coordination skills such as running, jumping, throwing a ball overhand, hopping on one foot, etc. One major milestone for this age group is toilet training. Another important skill around thirty-six months is learning how to interact with other children effectively which helps with developing social skills such as sharing and taking turns.

Between thirty-six and forty-eight months toddlers become more independent by learning to dress themselves, feeding themselves with a spoon, washing their hands, etc. They can draw several recognizable shapes such as circles, squares and triangles; they also like to explore the world around them through physical activities. At this age most children are in the process of developing fine motor skills which help later when learning how to write letters or numbers.

Children learn about themselves during these early years including knowing what makes them feel good (e.g., ice cream) and bad (e.g., shots at the doctor). They learn to trust their caregivers when misfortune does not befall them despite their own actions that may have caused it previously (e.g., spilling milk).

Children between the ages of three and five are very eager to learn. For example, children this age can usually speak clearly enough for strangers to understand them. They also enjoy singing songs with actions or family members, they even make up their own games involving movement or body parts. This is not always an easy age because children are now able to poke holes in your reasoning skills by asking why? After all, you can’t explain everything to a three-year-old! Many four year olds have imaginary friends or talk about things that don’t exist such as monsters under the bed. By age five most children have learned how to share and take turns during playtime with others.

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