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Early Childhood Development: The First Five Years

The first five years create the foundation for the child to accomplish key developmental advances in mind and body. From the first day of life to the first day in kindergarten, a child grows at a phenomenal pace that is unequalled at any other time of life. It is during these years that the brain undergoes its most dramatic growth. Language blossoms, basic motor abilities advance, thinking starts to become more complex, and social/emotional development enables the child to begin to understand his own feelings and those of others.

Parents should keep in mind that milestones are not a fixed time table, but approximate times when certain abilities can be observed. There is a wide range of "normal," and each child adapts to the world at his/her own pace.

The following articles outline the milestones in these areas:

Language and Communication

Motor Development

Social and Emotional Growth

Cognitive Development

Tracking Your Child's Growth: The First Five years

Getting a Good Start: Expectations, Challenges and Fostering Growth in the Child's First Year of Life
Part 1: Expectations
Part 2: Common Challenges and What to Do
Part 3: Fostering Growth in the Child's First Year of Life

Giant Steps - Expectations and Challenges in the Toddler Years
Part 1: Expectations
Part 2: Common Challenges and What To Do About Them

The Preschool Years: (ages four and five) Expectations and Challenges