Social and Emotional Development

Component 2: Self-Awareness and Competence

Standard 2.a: Children develop an awareness of themselves as an individual with thoughts, feelings, and perspectives that may differ from others.

By the following age ranges, children typically, for example:

  • Explore their own hands and feet
  • Demonstrate a recognition of themselves in a mirror
  • Respond to their own name
  • 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
  • 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
  • Become aware of and asserts ownership (e.g., “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
  • 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.”)
  • Describes physical attributes among peers and adults
  • Has a clear sense of people, self, and those who are different
  • Describe 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

Standard 2.b: Children develop the confidence to complete an action successfully or independently.

By the following age ranges, children typically, for example:

  • Demonstrate interest in objects or people
  • Accept new toys or objects with interest
  • Reach for objects of interest
  • Focus on objects and people of interest for longer periods of time
  • Show pleasure at their own actions
  • Show attachment to or preference for specific toys
  • Ask for similar activities to be repeated over and over
  • Attempt to perform self-care activities independently of adult help
  • Recognize their ability to influence their surroundings (e.g., standing on a table or feeding chair to indicate hunger to an adult)
  • Alternate between doing things independently and wanting help or comfort
  • Repeat activities and words and songs over and over
  • Participate in solitary pretend play (e.g., wearing hats, talking on a phone)
  • Help with simple tasks (e.g., picking up toys)
  • Demonstrate joy in their own accomplishments (e.g., throwing away a napkin, flushing a toilet)
  • Initiate new activities and explore new materials
  • Demonstrate interest and pride in handling personal care routines (e.g., removing coat) with minimal assistance
  • Choose materials and activities
  • Participate in new experiences with confidence and independence (e.g., selecting more challenging puzzles)
  • Resist help and demonstrate a sense of competence (e.g., insisting on dressing themselves, pouring their own juice, etc.)
  • Stay with a task until it is completed
  • Move between independence and dependence in a way that meets their needs for both and that is appropriate for the circumstances
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