Component 2: Sense of Self

Learning Goal 2.a: Children develop an awareness of themselves as an individual with unique thoughts, feelings, and perspectives.

By 9 months, most children:

  • Explore their own hands and feet
  • Demonstrate a recognition of themselves in a mirror
  • Respond to their own name

By 18 months, most children:

  • Explore various play materials and show preferences for specific books, toys, or food
  • Demonstrate displeasure when unable to exert influence on events
  • Indicate their dislike by saying “no” or through some other method (e. g., shaking their head or turning their head/body away)
  • Make simple choices

By 24 months, most children:

  • Recognize some body parts (e.g., pointing to eyes, ears, or nose when asked)
  • Refer to themselves by name
  • Use “me” and “mine” in reference to themselves and to objects
  • Express preferences for certain toys or objects
  • Enjoy playing alone for short periods of time
  • Try to do some things without help

By 36 months, most children:

  • Become aware of the idea of ownership (i.e., “This is mine”; and “that is yours.”)
  • Demonstrate preferences and choices for people, toys, or activities
  • Recognize a picture of themselves (e.g., by pointing or saying “me”)
  • Describe some personal characteristics (e.g., hair color)
  • Provide their first and last names when asked

By 48 months, most children:

  • Describe their own and others’ personal characteristics (e.g., “My hair is red; your hair is black.”)
  • Understand that other people have different physical characteristics as well as different thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and feelings.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of their own likes and preferences

By 60 months, most children:

  • Differentiate themselves from others based on characteristics they use to describe themselves, such as  “shy” or “smart.”
  • Differentiate themselves from others in terms of specific abilities (e.g., “I am a fast runner,” or “I am a good climber.”)