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Developmental Milestones

Developmental Milestones In The Last Quarter of 2020

It’s fast approaching the end of the year and as we continue to have new babies join us, our focus will continue to be; building on each child’s developmental milestones.

Our existing children have grown and developed increasingly over this term, achieving developmental goals or well on their way in working towards them.

Our programming focuses purely facilitating the child’s interest and the following skillset:

  • Gross and fine motor skills;
  • Social and emotional development;
  • Cognitive development; and
  • Language development.

Babies grow, learn and reach their developmental milestones through relationships with others and play.

Documenting babies’ milestones assists in observing incremental changes in a baby’s development as they learn to:

  • Move;
  • See;
  • Hear; and
  • Interact with others.

Responsive, warm interactions with educators, along with play, will help babies learn to communicate, express emotions, move and think.

Children’s developmental milestones generally happen in the same order in most children.

However, the developmental milestones can occur anytime between approximately 8 and 18 months. Children all develop at their own pace. Differences among babies are usually nothing to be concerned about.

Developmental delay is hard to predict whether it will be short term or permanent. Permanent delays in children don’t occur very often.

Fine and Gross Motor skills

Gross motor skills involve the coordination and control of the larger, stronger muscles of a child’s body.

It is these stronger muscles that will help a child hold their head up, sit, crawl and one day walk.

Fine motor skills involve the coordination and control of the small muscles.

The smaller muscles will help a child grasp toys in their hand and pick up small objects with their fingers.

This term we’ve had younger babies in the room as well as  older children who have started transitioning into the Dolphin Room. For this reason, we roll out two programs to cater for the younger children and older children.

The younger children have been encouraged to have “tummy time” to enable them the opportunity to strengthen their neck muscles to enable them to sit up. The babies have used the water play mat, the ball pit and on the mats with toys that encourage them to reach out and attempt to crawl. A couple of our younger babies have started to move into the milestone of crawling and a few older ones have started taking their first steps.

For the older children we have set up obstacle courses for the children on the verandah for them to navigate and build their confidence and strength. We have also taken the older children out to the big yard and environmental yard to explore the outdoor areas and different, larger equipment like the fort to challenge their capabilities.

In the Little Fish room, we use a lot of sensory experiences to help the children utilise their fine motor skills.

Some  favourite sensory experiences were:

  1. “hair gel” sensory bags with items inside that they could squish and see moving around inside, building on their hand muscles. Another favourite of the children was the
  2. “sensory snow”. This experience was simply made with bi-carb soda and hair conditioner. It looks and feels like real snow, the chemical reaction of the two ingredients together make the “snow” feel cold. The children have got in touch with their creative side and experimented with
  3. painting with different utensils, building on their fine motor skills.
  4. Drawing with pencils, crayons, markers and chalk is another favourite of the children, all assisting in working on building their hand muscles and pincer grip, which leads to the ability to be able to write.

Children learn who they are by how they are treated.

Loving, caring relationships are important to give children a sense of comfort, safety, confidence and encouragement, all forming part of their identity.

Babies will experience and express their emotions before they are fully able to understand them., they do this through crying.

As a child develops, the management of emotions and the ability to establish positive and rewarding relationships with others comes into play.

Positive relationships with adults and their peers is essential for children’s social-emotional development to enable a young child’s sense of well-being.

Social and Emotional Development evolves through providing a safe and secure environment. This  helps children’s learning in all areas. It encourages children’s brain development by shaping the developing neural circuitry, in particular the executive functions of the brain.

In the Little Fish room, we are able to support the children’s social and emotional development through;

  • Showing them our attention;
  • Giving affection;
  • Encouraging them to try new things;
  • Giving them opportunities to interact with children their age;
  • Establishing daily routines in the room such as group time; and
  • Sharing our own feelings and acknowledging their feelings.

We teach feelings and emotions to babies and toddlers through group time; we sing songs that have an emotion-based theme, such as “If your happy and you know it”.

We show the children flash cards of different emotions such as happy, sad, angry, surprised.

We use the expression on our face to show the children what each emotion looks like. We encourage them to do the same in the mirror on the wall, to give them a sense of what they look like when they show that emotion.

We  read emotion-based books to the children, narrating continuously throughout the book, like “oh look, Johnny looks sad. He has a sad face. why is he sad? lets find out”. Repeating the word sad to link up with that emotion the character is demonstrating.

Socially we have been teaching the children how to share and take turns. We practice this during our group sensory activities and role-playing activities.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development is about how a child learns to

  • Think, remember, gather and organise information;
  • Imagine;
  • Problem solve; and
  • Develop judgement.

These skills help a child to understand the world around them. Theorist Jean Piaget states “Children construct an understanding of the world around them, then experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment” (www.simplypsychology.org).

We develop cognitive skills in the classroom through reading books, sing-a-longs, practicing counting and the alphabet including phonics, shapes and colours.

Problem Solving activity ‘The birthday Box’, what you’ll need at home;

  1. A cardboard box with lid
  2. Coloured paper
  3. Coloured straws

This is simply a cardboard box covered with brightly coloured paper. Create holes in the box with the size diameter of a straw.

The children  pull the straws out of the box and try to put the straws back in the small holes.

This sustainable experience works on the children’s problem solving skills by trying to process how to put the straws back into the small hole. It also works on their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination.

That’s all from Miss Rachel, Miss Julie and the Jalumm’s this month

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