At certain points throughout the year, Owen’s daycare does “progress reports”. Of course you can’t put a grade on most of the developing these little guys are doing, but they are a way to check-in and make sure that parents and teachers are aligned on the child’s development and milestones and to get a very general sense of how that development lines up with other kids in his or her age range.
In the first few months at our “new” (not so new anymore) daycare, Owen was shuffled around from room to room based on where they had space on the days we need care and teachers coming/going. For some kids, bouncing between caregivers and being in different classrooms each day could be problematic and cause stress, but in pure Owen fashion, he just went with the flow. In fact, I think he loved the attention and the social interaction with so many people. They used to call him “the mayor” because he knew a lot of the teachers and other kids since he was often in different rooms, and Mr. Social continues to be cool with transitions and changes. Since late December he has (finally!) been settled in the same classroom with the same teachers and they are like our family now. He talks about them at home, calling them all by name and running right over to them when he sees them at school. Since he has been in his current classroom for a few months now, they had a chance to do a full progress report on how he’s developing and learning.
As someone with a psychology and human development background, I find these kinds of assessments really interesting. Those who have kids this age who are not at daycare might too. Owen is currently one of the youngest in his class, which I think is a perfect fit for him since at this point he is relatively advanced in language and motor skills. Here are the categories the toddlers are evaluated on in Owen’s class (kids range from 20 months to 2 1/4 years). They are rated as “Accomplished”, “Progressing” or “Requires Support” in each area.
- Transitions easily between activities
- Imitates adult chores
- Expresses affection
- Engages in parallel play
- Enjoys solitary play
- Participates in circle time
- Seeks adult help when needed
- Recognizes self in mirror or picture
- Shows ability to separate from parents/caregivers
- Imitates several new gestures (dropping blocks, shaking toys)
- Enjoys messy activities such as finger painting
- Recognizes several people in addition to immediate family members
- Uses play dough and paints
- Makes detours to retrieve an object
- Helps to turn pages in a book
- Matches sounds to animal figures
- Identifies two body parts
- Uses 2-3 word sentences
- Uses name to refer to self
- Knows names of peers and teachers
- Answers questions
- Uses some expressive vocabulary
- Imitates environmental/animal sounds
- Attempts to sing along to simple songs and rhymes
- Identified 5-7 pictures
- Uses expressive vocabulary of 20 or more words
- Able to wash hands with assistance
- Removes simple clothes
- Able to feed self with spoon/fork
- Defends possessions using “mine”
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
- Builds a tower using three cubes/blocks
- Places 6 round pegs in a peg board
- Points with index finger
- Tears paper
- Uses pincer grasp
GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
- Kicks a large ball forward
- Is able to walk freely
- Is able to walk up stairs with one hand held
- Pushes and pulls large toys
- Is able to seat self in a small chair
- Moves on a tide-on toy without pedal
- Stands on one foot with assistance
- Runs freely
Owen is firmly in the “Accomplished” camp for the vast majority of these skills. Of course, there are still a few he is working on, as there will always be.
For instance, Owen is great at solitary play (though I was surprised to see this, because when he is home, he wants me by his side at all times), but not as proficient in parallel play. I would say that’s because he likes to be in the action — he doesn’t want to play beside you if you have a fun toy, he wants to play with you/on top of you/all over you or not with you at all. Normal toddler stuff, to be sure.
Though his vocabulary is impressive for his age, apparently Owen has some trouble using expressive words. Hence the biting incident. Since that incident I am happy to report that we haven’t seen him bite again and have been working on ways to talk about emotions without hitting, punching, biting, throwing, etc. It’s sinking in, I think. Slowly. Now Owen will raise a toy in the air and say, “THROW!” before he throws. He looks to me for direction before doing it, so he knows he’s not supposed to do it. It’s great because it gives me a chance to say, “No, we don’t throw. It looks like you are mad. Are you mad? How about if we jump up and down instead?”. Doesn’t always work, but I have a feeling this is a skill we will be working on for many years to come. Many adults I know have not yet mastered it!
He’s good with washing hands and using a fork, as we’ve been doing those for awhile. But still working on removing clothes. Ha! Perhaps because that is a skill I’d rather he not learn, lest we have a naked toddler running around all the time. Maybe we’ll start with taking off his coat and shoes, rather than, you know, pants and diaper. Another self-help skill he is working on is defending possessions using the word “mine”. It is interesting to me that this is in the self-help category, but it does make sense in the context of standing up for yourself. I have heard the word “mine” a lot recently, so this is definitely something he is working on at school. Often at dinner now he will say, “Mine green beans” or “Mine milk”, even though no one is questioning whose food it is.
No matter where the marks fall on a progress report, it is amazing how much developing their little brains and bodies are doing, and just how many things they need to “learn” that we take for granted every day. Toddlers are amazing.