Understanding Early Childhood Development

Early childhood development is key to a successful educational career and helping children reach their full potential. There are many ways in which you and your childcare provider can help nurture developmental skills such as gross motor, fine motor, social, cognitive, and language.

Gross Motor

These are the skills developed quite early on in a child’s life involving the use of large groups of core muscles. Sitting, standing, walking, running, and balancing are examples of gross motor skills. Working with a child to help them learn to stand or walk on their own should be a primary concern during infancy. As they get older, activities such as playing tag and climbing will help to further their development.

Fine Motor

These are skills that involve dexterity, utilizing smaller muscles for more precise activities. These skills should be nurtured while your child is a toddler and preschooler through activities such as learning to eat with utensils, drawing (pre-writing skills), and dressing themselves. It doesn’t end during toddlerhood since these skills should continue to be emphasized as they grow such as learning to write and draw.


These skills are not limited to talking, language skills also refer to non-verbal body language and gestures, communication, and understanding what others are saying. Story time and reading with children will help to expand their vocabulary even if they are not able to express it vocally. Plenty of interaction with both peers and adults can help children broaden their vocabulary and become more comfortable speaking with others.


These skills include learning, understanding, problem solving, reasoning, and remembering. Puzzles are an excellent tool to assist with cognitive development at any age. Story comprehension is another useful tool to engage kids while they are being entertained.


These skills include interacting with others, having relationships, cooperating with others, and responding to the feelings of others. These skills are particularly important to childhood development, as the foundation built during infancy will directly impact how your child interacts with other for the rest of their lives. Playing games, teaching children to share, or group exercises such as playing telephone will help children work together for a common goal.