I Am Growing

I Am Growing & Developing

The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical period in development and have a lifelong impact on learning, health, work, relationships and well-being.
By five years old a child should show age-appropriate knowledge and behaviours in the following
five areas of development:

  1. Social Competence
  2. Language & Thinking Skills.
  3. Physical Health & Wellbeing.
  4. Emotional Maturity.
  5. Communication Skills & General Knowledge.

I Am Growing Up Book

On this page:


Development Skills

1. Social Competence



   These include:

  • Plays and gets along with other children
  • Able to follow rules and instructions
  • Able to follow routines
  • Accepts responsibility for actions
  • Shows respect for others

What you can do as your child grows: 

  • Hold your baby close and provide skin-to-skin contact
  • Provide a safe environment so your child can explore
  • Work on establishing a routine for sleeping, feeding and playtime
  • Play turn taking games such as peek-a-boo and ensure turn-taking by saying “my turn” and “your turn”
  • provide opportunities for your child to be with other children

2. Language & Thinking Skills



These include: 

  • An interest in reading, writing and language-related activities
  • Age-appropriate reading, writing and counting skills
  • Recognition of shapes, sizes and colours
  • Can easily remember things

What you can do as your child grows:

  • Read to your child everyday. Name the objects you see in the books and their environment
  • Provide quiet opportunities for play without interruptions
  • Provide age-appropriate toys such as ring stacks, nesting cups, farm animals, puzzles, blocks etc.
  • Provide only one or two toys at a time. Alternate them several times a day.
  • Limit screen time (No screen tie for children under 2 years,  less than 1 hours per day for children 2-4 years, less than 2 hours per day for older children )

3. Emotional Maturity



These include: 

  • Able to deal with feelings at an age-appropriate level
  • Able to separate from parent/guardian
  • Not too fearful or impulsive
  • Able to focus

What you can do as your child grows:

  • Get close and make eye contact with your child when you feed, talk, sing and read to them
  • Help baby self soothe by offering a pacifier and providing a comforting environment
  • Name your child’s feelings so they learn the words
  • Creating art allows children to express themselves. Provide clay, paints and building materials. These items can be used to recreate things children experience in their world
  • Maintain consistent expectations for your child’s behaviour and tell them in advance about changes in their routine or when you are somewhere

4. Communication Skills & General Knowledge



These include:

  • Ability to communicate needs and wants in socially appropriate ways
  • Ability to tell stories
  • Can say words clearly
  • Age-appropriate knowledge about life and the world
  • Ability to take part in imaginative play

What you can do as you child grows: 

  • It is important to respond to your crying baby. Their cries are their way to communicate that they need something
  • Talk to your baby; describe what you’re doing and name familiar objects
  • Reply when your baby babbles to encourage them to take a turn to communicate
  • Praise your child’s attempts to speak and repeat the word correctly when pronounced incorrectly
  • Take time to talk to your child and ask open ended questions that start with who, what or where

5. Physical Health & Wellbeing



These include:

  • Fine and gross motor skills (can hold a pen, crayons or brush, can climb stairs, etc.)
  • Independence in looking after own needs (able to go to the washroom most of the time)
  • Physically prepared for school (dressed appropriately, well nourished and rested)
  • Able to sustain energy levels throughout the day

What you can do as your child grows:

  • Provide supervised tummy time to help strengthen baby’s neck, back, upper trunk and arms
  • Provide a variety of healthy foods for meals and snacks
  • Ensure you child has adequate sleep and encourage good sleeping habits by keeping a regular sleep routine in a darkened, quiet place
  • Provide plenty of outside play and activity such as walking, bike riding, etc.
  • Encourage fine motor activities such as reaching, grasping, breading, drawing and cutting


I Am Growing

I Am New

(nurture me) 

I’m a bundle of potential and need.

I’m a consumer of information; I watch, listen, touch, taste and smell.

I’m a scientist and problem solver.

I’m hope and joy personified.


Social Competence



3 Months: Recognizes and prefers familiar faces and voices
6 Months: Enjoys and interacts with own reflection in a mirror
9 Months: Enjoys turn-taking games such as peek-a-boo

Language & Thinking Skills 


3 Months: Makes Pleasure sounds; coos, giggles
6 Months: Responds to own name
9 Months: Responds to simple verbal requests; waves bye-bye

Emotional Maturity



3 Months: Cries to signal needs
6 Months: Says “mama” and “dada” nonspecifically
9 Months: Babbles a lot; imitates sounds and actions

Communication Skills & General Knowledge



3 Months: Generally quiets when comforted; may be times when can’t stop crying
6 Months: Seeks comfort when upset
9 Months: Starts to read emotions of others

Physical Health & Wellbeing



3 Months: Kicks, grabs and sucks based on reflexes
6 Months: Sits up with support, then independently
9 Months: Rolls and crawls


I Am One

(I’m not a little baby)

I’m curious, observant, energetic, determined, focused and sometimes stubborn scientist.

I’m a natural born-learner, all-the-time explorer of stuff… An insatiable consumer of sensory experiences.

I’m a highly evolved and very capable future adult, eager to engage the world. 


Social Competence



12 Months: Plays purposefully with toys
18 Months: Finds it hard to share “mine”

Language & Thinking Skills



12 Months: Likes to stack, nest and put things into containers
18 Months: Points to pictures when named

Emotional Maturity



12 Months: Uses one to three words and expressions like “uh oh”
18 Months: Uses voice in conjunction with pointing and gesturing

Communication Skills & General Knowledge



12 Months: May show fear or anxiety over new people and situations
18 Months: Explores from secure base of parent or caregiver

Physical Health & Wellbeing



12 Months: Pulls to stand; walks holding furniture
18 Months: Likes to ride on toys; runs


I Am Two

(don’t underestimate me)

It’s not easy. I’m realizing the world no longer revolves around me like it did when I was younger. 

Still, likes not so terrible. It’s just a bit complex and overwhelming at times. 

Im trying to understand the world and my curiosity and drive sometimes look like trouble. 

I’m a force to be reckoned with, a busy brain on the go. 


Social Competence



2 – 3 Years: Begins to engage in pretend play

Language & Thinking Skills



2 – 3 Years: Able to sort objects by colour and size

Emotional Maturity



2 – 3 Years: Uses two to three-word sentences

Communication Skills & General Knowledge



2 – 3 Years: Has poor impulse control; tests parental limits

Physical Health & Wellbeing



2 – 3 Years: Jumps; catches a large ball


I Am Three

(let me play. trust me, I’m learning)

I am not built to sit still, keep my hands to myself, take turns, be patient, stand in line, or keep quiet all the time. 

I need motion.

I need novelty.

I need adventure. 

I need to engage the world with my whole body. 


Social Competence



3 – 4 Years: Begins to share and take turns.

Language & Thinking Skills



3 – 4 Years: Able to complete a four-piece puzzle.

Emotional Maturity



3 -4 Years: Uses long sentences  and detailed stories

Communication Skills & General Knowledge



3 – 4 Years: Able to identify and name own feelings

Physical Health & Wellbeing



3 – 4 Years: Walks upstairs alternating feet; able to put needs on a string


I Am Four

(challenge me) 
I’m a smooth talking, agile and observant seeker of adventure. 
I’m kind of a know-it-all… as in… I want to know it all.
I have more questions in me than you have answers.
I’m perceptive enough to send this can frustrate you, but please don’t discount my inquisitiveness.

Social Competence



4 – 5 Years: Likes playing with other children

Language & Thinking Skills



4 – 5 Years: Counts out loud to ten

Emotional Maturity



4 -5 Years: Speech is easily understood by others; uses correct grammar

Communication Skills & General Knowledge



4 -5 Years: Develops real fears (of the dark, etc.), as well as a sense of humour

Physical Health & Wellbeing



4 -5 Years: Uses paint and scissors; can draw simple shapes and faces


I Am 5

(don’t rush my childhood)
I’m a risk taker and mess maker.
I’m a confident doer of exciting things. I’m not built for desk sitting. My busy brain creates action and novelty.
I’m not as grown up as some people think.
I still need to play, move and explore. 

Social Competence



5 & Beyond: Enjoys group activities and games with rules

Language & Thinking Skills



5 & Beyond: Able to say full names, birth date and month

Emotional Maturity



5 & Beyond: Uses correct grammar; narrates long stories

Communication Skills & General Knowledge



5 & Beyond: Has sense of right and wrong

Physical Health & Wellbeing



5 & Beyond: Dresses without support; rides bicycle with training wheels; prints letters