Child Development

Ages, Stages, and the Rhythms of Growth: A quick reference guide to patterns of behavior


Early Childhood

During the first 18 months of life, the infant has no real notion of reality. Parents can develop a strong bond with their infants by comforting and caring for them by answering their cries and attending to their needs.

One Month: Breathes and sleeps more regularly; opens eyes wide; has a preference for position; reacts positively to comforts and satisfactions and negatively to pain and denial.

Three Months: Marked by a lack of balance; when placed on stomach will kick and struggle fruitlessly and awkwardly. There may be a very great deal of crying especially in the evening. Responsive to caretakers

Four Months: Very responsive, smiles socially, behavior is smoothed out; goes to sleep more easily; eyes follow a moving object, hands reach out for a desired object – but cannot grasp it; coos, laughs aloud, and can smile back when smiled to.

Five Months to Six Months: Cries when mother leaves room – beginning to feel “stranger anxiety”; reaches for objects but may be unsuccessful in grasping them; cannot do things he wants to, but tries.

Seven Months: Prefers sitting position; wants to touch, and to be held standing and to bounce; must have something in hands, can reach out and grasp and bring to mouth; shifts from one hand to other, generally copes well.

Eight Months: New awareness makes for new sensitivity – can withdraw and even cry at sight of strangers (e.g., can tell the difference between the familiar and unfamiliar.). Tries to crawl and creep

Nine to Ten Months: Fine equilibrium. Socially well adjusted and extremely responsive, some respond to “bye-bye” and/or pat-a-cake. Can sit alone and even manipulate objects. Gets up on hands and knees; responds to gestures, facial expressions and sounds; vocalizes spontaneously and can initiate such simple syllables as “da da”.

Eleven Months: Can be “strange” with strangers, but serene and friendly with those he is familiar with. Efficiently creeps and gets around.

One Year: Rate of growth slows down. Can creep; cruise along some object of furniture; serene and self-confident; recognizes social approval; loves to have an audience; likes to play peek-a-boo and to be chased; may prefer to stand up while being fed; begins to separate from parent.

Fifteen Months: Can walk; strains at the leash with new-found abilities. Gets into everything and loves to throw; can ask for what he wants by vocalizing and pointing and can respond to a few key words and phrases. May be able to hold cup. Mood shifts; diversion is easy; easily entertained.

Eighteen Months: The 18 month old is extremely immature; understands more than is able to speak, but understanding is still very limited. Don’t expect a child this age to listen to your directions. If you want your toddler to move from wherever he/she is, the best way is to pick him up and carry him to where you want. Favorite word is “NO”, and favorite behavior is “NOW!” No concept of sharing or waiting.



From 18 months to 3 years old, toddlers work is their playpen. Curious, active, runs, climbs, develops language – becomes more social. Lacks self-control, and begins the age of separation. Craves independence from parents, but fears being abandoned.

Two Years: The 2 year old is more balanced and has more mastery over himself and the environment. Has more of an ability to wait and generally is more manageable. Loving and responsible.

Two and a Half Years: The tantrum age. Rigid, stubborn and resisting. Likes rituals and doing the same thing over and over. Yes/No; I will/I won’t/I don’t want it reveals the inner conflict.


 The Play Age

From three to six years old, children focus on mastering themselves and their environment, and they prepare to go to school. Becomes more social, and begins playing more with friends and going to friend’s homes. Intermittent sharing behaviors (don’t expect too much). Moves from being parent-centered to being self-centered.

Three Years: The calm after the storm. Much more cooperative, charming and feels much more secure. Likes new words and to be around friends, and may even be willing to share a toy.

Three and a Half Years: A tremendous change with signs of marked insecurity and physically uncoordinated. Tension outlets include biting nails, sucking their thumb, blinking eyes.

Four Years: The key words are vigor and expansiveness. They run way in front of you on a walk and are known to break things (accidently), and language can be abrasive and startling. Line between fact and fiction very thin. The insecure 3 ½ year old becomes a daring and exploring 4 year old.

Four and a Half Years: Focuses on what’s “really real”. More focused, and is less wild than at four, but also can exhibit more moodiness and withdrawn behaviors.

Five Years: The wonderful age – “Too good to be true” say some parents. Cooperative, loves mom and dad and family; satisfied with self, contented, reliable and stable.


Kindergarten Aims and Objectives

Your children want to learn. They need to be successful at what they do so they will feel confident enough to try new challenges and activities. Our kindergarten program will offer many learning experiences to further the social, emotional, mental, and physical development of your child. The pace of learning is determined by the child’s developmental level. A diagnostic/prescriptive approach is utilized for instruction.

Kindergarten will help your child:

  • Learn to work, play, and share with other children, and to appreciate and respect other classmates by participating in group activities as a leader, observer, and contributor.
  • Understand responsibility through learning how to follow directions and how to care for school materials and equipment.
  • Progress through reading readiness skills in a sequential manner.
  • Increase language skills by sharing experiences, retelling stories, participating in dramatic plays, and learning to listen and observe for details. Children develop concepts of language through concrete experiences in which they use all their senses – touching, smelling, hearing, listening, and seeing.
  • Develop math concepts and skills through meaningful experiences with concrete objects, pictures, and the use of math symbols.
  • Develop freedom of personal expression while experimenting with such materials as clay, paper, paint, scissors, paste, crayons, and tools.


How to know if your child is ready for kindergarten

Gesell Institute of Child Development: Your Five-Year-Old

Characteristics of the ready child

Characteristics of the unready child

  • Immature speech patterns persist
  • Cannot separate without crying
  • Mercurial in behavior; constantly on the run; can’t slow down
  • Likes all activities that involve movement
  • Needs frequent change of activity; short attention span
  • Shows limited fine motor ability – cutting, coloring, etc.
  • Needs constant supervision on equipment; forgets safety rules
  • Lacks desire to conform
  • Demonstrates aggressive behavior, sometimes disruptive, sometimes destructive
  • Argumentative
  • Needs rest but resists settling down
  • Easily distracted; often out-of-bounds
  • Difficulty with change in routine
  • Often fails to finish task
  • Works better in a one-to-one relationship; more time needed for giving directions
  • Shows silly, boisterous humor
  • Poor bladder control evident, especially under stress
  • Tendency to forget or lose items and belongings; lacks responsibility

Carousel School

7899 La Tijera Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Tel: (310) 645-9222
Fax: (310) 645-4201