“A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils.”
– Ever Garrison
April has been full of fun here at The Children’s Center! We have been busy learning with Coastal Discovery Musem, celebrating Week of the Young Child, and getting ready for our First Annual Celebration Dinner on April 30th. This year marks over 55 years of service to the Lowcountry, and we are so thankful to have amazing community members like you in our corner.
In February, we began a series focused on understanding the South Carolina Early Learning Standards. These standards are the building blocks for the Children’s Center’s curriculum and has contributed to our 98.6% Kindergarten readiness standard. The goal of this series is to provide some practical ways parents can assist their children in hitting the appropriate developmental milestones for their child’s age range.
This month we will focus on health and physical development (HPD) in your preschooler. The South Carolina Early Learning Standards state the following regarding the importance of this developmental domain:
“The Health and Physical Development domain focuses on physical growth and motor development, nutrition, self-care, and health/safety practices. It lays a foundation for children’s future health and well-being. Teachers and caregivers should keep in mind that the developmental trajectory of children with identified disabilities may differ from the descriptions of typical development described in this domain’s Developmental Indicators.
During the time from birth to age five, children grow rapidly. Their bodies more than double in size, and their brains develop more rapidly than during any other period in their lives. Children grow and develop best when they are provided, and enjoy, a healthy and balanced diet that promotes their physical growth and health, as well as their cognitive development, including their memory, problem solving, and decision- making skills.”
As we can see, this is a critical component of your child’s growth. Here are some ways you can ensure your child has what they need in this area:
Infants (Birth – 12 months):
At this age, your infant will begin to show interest in their feeding schedule and learning to feed themselves by eating finger foods and holding their own bottle. They will also begin to indicate when they are full or hungry by using actions, sounds, or words. Infants are also becoming more interested in their environment and reaching, rolling, and pulling up to explore their environment more.
Younger Toddlers (8 – 21 months):
At this stage, young toddlers are learning to try new foods, feed themselves with some help from their caregivers, and beginning to eat a variety of foods. It is important that foods young toddlers could choke on, such as grapes, are cut into small pieces for safe consumption. At this age, children are very mobile, and free play and time outside is very important. This is how your child is beginning to explore their environment.
Older Toddlers (18 – 36 months):
At this stage, independence is becoming more and more important. Children will begin to eat foods depending on their appetite and personal preference (make food choices at a meal, leave unwanted food on plate, ask for seconds of favorite food). Children will show satisfaction with new skills and strengths and ask you to watch them. Another milestone at this age may be children learning to fall asleep on their own.
Younger Preschoolers (36 – 48 months):
Developing strength and stamina by spending moderate periods of time engaged in active physical play is a milestone for young preschoolers. This may be a good age to get them involved in recreational sports, taking music lessons, or learning other physical skills. Children may begin to communicate tiredness and engage in a sleep routine at this age (such as brushing their teeth, saying prayers, story time, etc.).
Older Preschoolers (48 – 60 months):
At about this age your child should be confident in feeding themselves independently with utensils, and recognizing what foods and drinks are healthy for them to consume. If a healthy portion of their meal is missing (such as veggies) they should be able to point that out. This nutritional education is important for kids. Another tip is to (in most situations) not pressure children to finish meals if they are full. Learning a healthy relationship with food as well as physical activity is important at this age. This sets children up to live healthy lives as they grow older.
To learn more about the South Carolina Early Education Standards click here.
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