What are 5 developmental areas of skills to teach young children?

Don’t get overwhelmed by where to start or what to teach toddler or preschool kids.

Children do not learn skills in isolation, or by subject.

Rather, they are naturally born curious and learn through a whole child hands-on approach.

This means that you can think about experiences that address the developmental domains.

Just think about your child and these 5 key areas of skills and creating an activity will come naturally.

The 5 developmental domains can be represented in the acronym PILES. This stands for physical, intellectual, language, emotional, and social.

In this video, Anita explains the 5 Developmental Domains:

P is for Physical

It’s the Physical Body growth and often put into two skills categories; Gross motor and fine motor.

  • Gross motor which are entire body movements used in things like running, walking, throwing, jumping, skipping or climbing.
  • Fine motor, in contrast, are those smaller muscles in arms, hands and fingers used in activities such as eating, drawing, cutting, grasping, zipping zippers or fastening buttons.
toddler playing with cones

I is for Intellectual

  • This area involves the processes such as memory recall, conceptual thinking, imagination, organization, critical thinking and being able to solve problems.

L is for Language

  • This is about communication and expression.
  • Additionally, language is connected to understanding vocabulary and includes things like reading and writing.

E is for Emotional

  • This area is about emotional regulation which is the ability to manage and express emotions. Includes feelings of self-perception and awareness of others.
Book cover The Kissing Hand showing two raccoons kissing hands

“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn is a wonderful book to help children manage feelings of separation from their loved ones. 

S is for Social

  • This is about the relationships with others as their ability to interact with adults and peers to encourage healthy relationships and ability to regulate conflict and a sense of being in a community.

Check out this page for more activity ideas and don’t forget to get the Play and Learning Book which has over 50 ideas and activities that you can provide your child to support their PILES of development.

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