Child Development Stages – advice for practitioners

This resource provide examples illustrating expected development for children aged between one month and five years.

They consider the following areas: posture & large movements; vision & fine movements; hearing & speech; social behaviour & play.

Child Development at 1 Month

Posture & large movements:

  • Lies back with head to one side; arm and leg on same side outstretched, or both arms flexed; knees apart, soles of feet turned inwards.
  • Large jerky movements of limbs, arms more active than legs.
  • At rest, hands closed and thumb turned in.
  • Fingers and toes fan out during extensor movements of limbs.
  • When cheek touched, turns to same side; ear gently rubbed, turns head away.
  • When lifted or pulled to sit, head falls loosely backwards.
  • Held sitting, head falls forward, with back in one complete curve.
  • Placed downwards on face, head immediately turns to side; arms and legs flexed under body, buttocks humped up.
  • Held standing on hard surface, presses down feet, straightens body and often makes reflex ‘stepping’ movements.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Turns head and eyes towards light.
  • Stares expressionlessly at brightness of window or blank wall.
  • Follows pencil flash-lamp briefly with eyes at one foot.
  • Shuts eyes tightly when pencil light shone directly into them at 1-2 inches.
  • Notices silent dangling toy shaken in line of vision at 6–8 inches and follows its slow movement with eyes from side towards mid-line on level with face through approximately quarter circle, before head falls back to side.
  • Gazes at mother/carer’s nearby face when they feed or talks to baby with increasingly alert facial expression.

Hearing & speech:

  • Startled by sudden loud noises, stiffens, quivers, blinks, screws eyes up, extends limbs, fans out fingers and toes, and may cry.
  • Movements momentarily ‘frozen’, when small bell rung gently 3–5 inches from ear for 3–5 seconds, with 5 second pauses; may ‘corner’ eyes towards sound.
  • Stops whimpering to sound of nearby soothing human voice, but not when screaming or feeding.
  • Cries lustily when hungry or uncomfortable.
  • Utters little guttural noises when content.
  • Note: deaf babies also cry and vocalise in this reflex way, but if very deaf do not usually show startle reflex to sudden noises.
  • Blind babies may also move eyes towards a sound-making toy. Vision should always be checked separately.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Sucks well.
  • Sleeps much of the time when not being fed or handled.
  • Expression still vague, but becoming more alert, progressing to social smiling about 5–6 weeks.
  • Hands normally closed, but if opened, grasps examiner’s finger when palm is touched.
  • Stops crying when picked up and spoken to.
  • Mother/carer supports head when carrying, dressing and bathing.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 3 months

Posture & large movements:

  • Now prefers to lie on back with head in mid-line.
  • Limbs more pliable movements smoother and more continuous.
  • Waves arms symmetrically, hands now loosely open.
  • Brings hands together from side into mid-line over chest or chin.
  • Kicks vigorously, legs alternating, or occasionally together.
  • Held sitting, holds back straight, except in lumber region, with head erect and steady for several seconds before bobbing forwards.
  • Placed downwards on face lifts head and upper chest well up in mid-line, using forearms as support, and often scratching at table surface; legs straight, buttocks flat.
  • Held standing with feet on hard surface, sags at knees.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Visually very alert, particularly interested in nearby human faces.
  • Moves head deliberately to look around.
  • Follows adult’s movements near cot.
  • Follows dangling toy at 6–10 inches above face through half circle from side to side, and usually also vertically from chest to brow.
  • Watches movements of own hands before face and beginning to clasp and unclasp hands together in finger play.
  • Recognises feeding bottle and makes eager welcoming movements as it approaches their face.
  • Regards still objects within 6–10 inches for more than a second or two, but seldom fixates continuously.
  • Comerges eyes as dangling toy is moved towards face. Defensive blink shown.

Hearing & speech:

  • Sudden loud noises still distress, provoking blinking, screwing up of eyes, crying and turning away.
  • Definite quietening or smiling to sound of mother/carer’s voice before they touch baby, but not when screaming.
  • Vocalises freely when spoken to or pleased.
  • Cries when uncomfortable or annoyed.
  • Quietens to tinkle of spoon in cup or to bell rung gently out of sight for 3–5 seconds at 6–12 inches from ear.
  • May turn eyes and head towards sound; brows may wrinkle and eyes dilate.
  • Often licks lips in response to sounds of preparation for feeding.
  • Shows excitement at sound of approaching footsteps, running bath water, voices, etc.
  • Note: a deaf baby, instead, may be obviously startled by mother/carer’s sudden appearance beside cot.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Fixes eyes unblinkingly on mother/carer’s face when feeding.
  • Beginning to react to familiar situations – showing by smiles, coos, and excited movements that they recognise preparation for feeds, baths, etc.
  • Responds with obvious pleasure to friendly handling, especially when accompanied by playful tickling and vocal sounds.
  • Holds rattle for few moments when placed in hand, but seldom capable of regarding it at same time.
  • Mother/carer supports at shoulders when dressing and bathing.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 6 months

Posture & large movements:

  • Lying on back, raises head from pillow. Lifts legs into vertical and grasps foot.
  • Sits with support in cot or pram and turns head from side to look around.
  • Moves arms in brisk and purposeful fashion and holds them up to be lifted.
  • When hands grasped braces shoulders and pulls self up.
  • Kicks strongly, legs alternating. Can roll over, front to back.
  • Held sitting, head is firmly erect, and back straight. May sit alone momentarily.
  • Placed downwards on face lifts head and chest well up, supporting self on extended arms.
  • Held standing with feet touching hard surface bears weight on feet and bounces up and down actively.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Visually insatiable: moves head and eyes eagerly in every direction.
  • Eyes move in unison: squint now abnormal.
  • Follows adult’s movements across room.
  • Immediately fixates interesting small objects within 6–12 inches (e.g. toy, bell, wooden cube, spoon, sweet) and stretches out both hands to grasp them.
  • Uses whole hand in palmar grasp. When toys fall from hand over edge of cot forgets them.
  • Watches rolling balls of 2 to 1/4 inch diameter at 10 feet.

Hearing & speech:

  • Turns immediately to mother/carer’s voice across room.
  • Vocalises tunefully and often, using single and double syllables, e.g. ka, muh, goo, der, adah, er-lah.
  • Laughs, chuckles and squeals aloud in play; screams with annoyance.
  • Shows evidence of response to different emotional tones of mother/carer’s voice.
  • Responds to baby hearing test at 11/2 feet from each ear by correct visual localisation, but may show slightly brisker response on one side.
  • Tests employed – voice, rattle, cup and spoons, paper, bell; 2 seconds with 2 seconds pause.

Social behaviour & play

  • Hands competent to reach for and grasp small toys.
  • Most often uses a two-handed, scooping-in approach, but occasionally a single hand.
  • Takes everything to mouth.
  • Beginning to find feet interesting and even useful in grasping.
  • Puts hands to bottle and pats it when feeding.
  • Shakes rattle deliberately to make it sound, often regarding it closely at same time.
  • Still friendly with strangers but occasionally shows some shyness or even slight anxiety, especially if mother/carer is out of sight.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 9 Months

Posture & large movements:

  • Sits alone for 10–15 minutes on the floor.
  • Can turn body to look sideways while stretching out to grasp dangling toy or to pick up toy from floor.
  • Arms and legs very active in cot, pram and bath.
  • Progresses on floor by rolling or squirming.
  • Attempts to crawl on all fours.
  • Pulls self to stand with support.
  • Can stand holding on to support for a few moments, but cannot lower self.
  • Held standing, steps purposefully on alternate feet.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Very observant.
  • Stretches out, one hand leading, to grasp small objects immediately on catching sight of them.
  • Manipulates objects with lively interest, passing from hand to hand, turning over, etc.
  • Pokes at small object with index finger.
  • Grasps sweets, string, etc., between finger and thumb in scissor fashion.
  • Can release toy by pressing against firm surface, but cannot yet put down precisely.
  • Searches in correct place for toys dropped within reach of hands.
  • Looks after toys falling over edge of pram or table.
  • Watches activities of adults, children and animals within 10–12 feet with eager interest for several seconds at a time.
  • Watches rolling balls 21/8 inches at 10 feet.

Hearing & speech:

  • Vocalises deliberately as means of interpersonal communication.
  • Shouts to attract attention, listens, then shouts again.
  • Babbles tunefully, repeating syllables in long strings (mam-man, bab-bab, dad-dad, etc.)
  • Understands ‘No-No’ and ‘Bye-Bye’.
  • Tries to imitate adults’ playful vocal sounds, e.g. smacking lips, cough, brr, etc.
  • Immediate localising response to baby hearing tests at 3 feet from ear and above and below ear level.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Holds, bites and chews biscuits.
  • Puts hands round bottle or cup when feeding.
  • Tries to grasp spoon when being fed.
  • Throws body back and stiffens in annoyance or resistance.
  • Clearly distinguishes strangers from familiars, and requires reassurance before accepting their advances.
  • Clings to known adult and hides face.
  • Still takes everything to mouth.
  • Seizes bell in one hand, imitates ringing action, waving or banging it on table, pokes clapper or ‘drinks’ from bowl.
  • Plays peek-a-boo.
  • Holds out toy held in hand to adult, but cannot yet give.
  • Finds partially hidden toy.
  • May find toy hidden under cup.
  • Mother supports at lower spine when dressing.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 12 Months

Posture & large movements:

  • Sits well and for indefinite time.
  • Can rise to sitting position from lying down.
  • Crawls rapidly, usually on all fours.
  • Pulls to standing and lets himself down again holding on to furniture.
  • Walks round furniture stepping sideways.
  • Walks with one or both hands held.
  • May stand alone for a few moments.
  • May walk alone.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up small objects, e.g. blocks, string, sweets and crumbs, with precise pincer grasp of thumb and index finger.
  • Throws toys deliberately and watches them fall to ground.
  • Looks in correct place for toys which roll out of sight.
  • Points with index finger at objects they want to handle or which interest them.
  • Watches small toy pulled along floor across room 10 feet away.
  • Out of doors watches movements of people, animals, motor cars, etc., with prolonged intent regard.
  • Recognises familiars approaching from 20 feet or more away.
  • Uses both hands freely, but may show preference for one.
  • Clicks two bricks together in imitation.
  • Watches rolling balls 21/8 inches at 10 feet.

Hearing & speech:

  • Knows and immediately turns to own name.
  • Babbles loudly, tunefully and incessantly.
  • Shows by suitable movements and behaviour that they understand several words in usual context (e.g. own and family names, walk, dinner, cat, cup, spoon, ball, car).
  • Comprehends simple commands associated with gesture (give it to daddy, come to mummy, say bye bye, clap hands, etc.)
  • Imitates adult’s playful vocalisations with gleeful enthusiasm.
  • May hand examine common objects on request, e.g. spoon, cup, ball, shoe.
  • Immediate response to baby tests at 3–41/2 feet but rapidly habituates.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Drinks from cup with little assistance.
  • Chews.
  • Holds spoon but usually cannot use it alone.
  • Helps with dressing by holding out arm for sleeve and foot for shoe.
  • Takes objects to mouth less often.
  • Puts wooden cubes in and out of cup or box.
  • Rattles spoon in cup in imitation.
  • Seizes bell by handle and rings briskly in imitation, etc.
  • Listens with obvious pleasure to percussion sounds.
  • Repeats activities to reproduce effects.
  • Gives toys to adult on request and sometimes spontaneously.
  • Finds hidden toy quickly.
  • Likes to be constantly within sight and hearing of adult.
  • Demonstrates affection to familiars.
  • Waves ‘bye-bye’ and claps hands in imitation or spontaneously.
  • Child sits, or sometimes stands without support, while adult dresses.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 15 Months

Posture & large movements:

  • Walks unevenly with feet wide apart, arms slightly flexed and held above head or at shoulder level to balance.
  • Starts alone, but frequently stopped by falling or bumping into furniture.
  • Lets self down from standing to sitting by collapsing backwards with bump, or occasionally by falling forward on hands and then back to sitting.
  • Can get to feet alone.
  • Crawls upstairs.
  • Kneels unaided or with slight support on floor and in pram, cot and bath.
  • May be able to stoop to pick up toys from floor.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up string, small object and crumbs neatly between thumb and finger.
  • Builds tower of two cubes after demonstration.
  • Grasps crayon and imitates scribble after demonstration.
  • Looks with interest at pictures in book and pats page.
  • Follows with eyes path of cube or small toy swept vigorously from table.
  • Watches small toy pulled across floor up to 12 feet.
  • Points imperiously to objects he wishes to be given.
  • Stands at window and watches events outside intently for several minutes.
  • Watches and retrieves rolling balls of 21/8 inches at 10 feet.

Hearing & speech:

  • Jabbers loudly and freely, using wide range of inflections and phonetic units.
  • Speaks 2–6 recognisable words and understands many more.
  • Vocalises wishes and needs at table. Points to familiar persons, animals, toys, etc., when requested.
  • Understands and obeys simple commands (e.g. shut the door, give me the ball, get your shoes).

Social Behaviour & play:

  • Holds cup when adult gives and takes back.
  • Holds spoon, brings it to mouth and licks it, but cannot prevent its turning over.
  • Chews well.
  • Helps more constructively with dressing.
  • Indicates when has wet underwear.
  • Pushes large wheeled toy with handle on level ground.
  • Seldom takes toy to mouth.
  • Repeatedly casts objects to floor in play or rejection, usually without watching fall.
  • Physically restless and intensely curious.
  • Handles everything within reach.
  • Closely dependent upon adult’s reassuring presence.
  • Needs constant supervision to protect child from dangers of extended exploration of environment.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 18 Months

Posture & large movements:

  • Walks well with feet only slightly apart, starts and stops safely.
  • Runs stifly upright, eyes fixed on ground 1–2 yards ahead, but cannot continue to run round obstacles.
  • Pushes and pulls large toys, boxes, etc., round floor.
  • Can carry large doll or teddy-bear while walking and sometimes two.
  • Backs into small chair or slides in sideways.
  • Climbs forward into adult’s chair then turns round and sits.
  • Walks upstairs with helping hand.
  • Creeps backwards down stairs.
  • Occasionally bumps down a few steps on buttocks facing forwards.
  • Picks up toy from floor without falling.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up small objects, beads, pins, threads, etc., immediately on sight, with delicate pincer grasp.
  • Spontaneous scribble when given crayon and paper, using preferred hand.
  • Builds tower of three cubes after demonstration.
  • Enjoys simple picture book, often recognising and putting finger on coloured items on page.
  • Turns pages 2 or 3 at a time.
  • Fixes eyes on a small dangling toy up to 10 feet. (May tolerate this test with each eye separately.)
  • Points to distant interesting objects out of doors.
  • Watches and retrieves rolling balls 2–1/2 inches at 10 feet.
  • Possibly recognises special miniature toys at 10 feet.

Hearing & speech:

  • Continues to jabber tunefully to self at play.
  • Uses 6–20 recognisable words and understands many more.
  • Echoes prominent or last word addressed to them.
  • Demands desired objects by pointing accompanied by loud, urgent vocalisation or single words.
  • Enjoys nursery rhymes and tries to join in. Attempts to sing.
  • Shows own or doll’s hair, shoe, nose (Possibly special 5 toy test. Possibly 4 animals picture test.)

Social behaviour & play:

  • Lifts and holds cup between both hands.
  • Drinks without spilling.
  • Hands cup back to adult.
  • Holds spoon and gets food to mouth. Takes off shoes, socks, hat.
  • Indicates toilet needs by restlessness and vocalisation.
  • Bowel control usually attained.
  • Explores environment energetically.
  • No longer takes toys to mouth.
  • Remembers where objects belong.
  • Casts objects to floor in play or anger less often.
  • Briefly imitates simple activities, e.g. reading book, kissing doll, brushing floor.
  • Plays contentedly alone, but likes to be near adult.
  • Emotionally still very dependent upon familiar adult.
  • Alternates between clinging and resistance.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 2 Years

Posture & large movements:

  • Runs safely on whole foot, stopping and starting with ease and avoiding obstacles.
  • Squats to rest or to play with object on ground and rises to feet without using hands.
  • Walks backwards pulling large toy. Pulls wheeled toy by cord.
  • Climbs on furniture to look out of window or open doors, etc., and can get down again.
  • Walks upstairs and down holding on to rail and wall; two feet to a step.
  • Throws small ball without falling.
  • Walks into large ball when trying to kick it.
  • Sits astride large wheeled toy and propels forward with feet on ground.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up pins and thread, etc., neatly and quickly.
  • Removes paper wrapping from small sweet.
  • Builds lower of six cubes (or 6+).
  • Spontaneous circular scribble and dots when given paper and pencil. Imitates vertical line (and sometimes V).
  • Enjoys picture books, recognising fine details in favourite pictures.
  • Turns pages singly.
  • Recognises familiar adults in photograph after once shown.
  • Hand preference becoming evident.
  • Immediately catches sight of, and names special miniature toys at 10 feet distance. Will now usually tolerate this test with each eye separately.
  • Watches and retrieves rolling balls 2 – 1/8 inches at 10 feet.

Hearing & speech:

  • Uses 50 or more recognisable words and understands many more.
  • Puts 2 or more words together to form simple sentences.
  • Refers to self by name.
  • Talks to self continually as they play.
  • Echo(s) a almost constant, with one or more stressed words repeated.
  • Constantly asking names of objects.
  • Joins in nursery rhymes and songs.
  • Shows correctly and repeats words for hair, hand, feet, nose, eyes, mouth, shoe on request.
  • 6 toy test, 4 animals picture test.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Lifts and drinks from cup and replaces on table.
  • Spoon-feeds without spilling.
  • Asks for food and drink. Chews competently.
  • Puts on hat and shoes.
  • Verbalises toilet needs in reasonable time.
  • Dry during day.
  • Turns door handles.
  • Often runs outside to explore.
  • Follows carer round and copies domestic activities in simultaneous play.
  • Engages in simple make-believe activities.
  • Constantly demanding carer’s attention.
  • Clings lightly in affection, fatigue or fear.
  • Tantrums when frustrated but attention readily distracted.
  • Defends own possessions with determination.
  • As yet no idea of sharing.
  • Plays near other children but not with them.
  • Resentful of attention shown to other children.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 2.5 Years

Posture & large movements:

  • Walks upstairs alone but downstairs holding rail, two feet to a step.
  • Runs well straight forward and climbs easy nursery apparatus.
  • Pushes and pulls large toys skilfully, but has difficulty in steering them round obstacles.
  • Jumps with two feet together.
  • Can stand on tiptoe if shown.
  • Kicks large ball.
  • Sits on tricycle and steers with hands, but still usually propels with feet on ground.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up pins, threads, etc., with each eye covered separately.
  • Builds tower of seven (or 7+) cubes and lines blocks to form a ‘train’.
  • Recognises minute details in picture books.
  • Imitates horizontal line and circle (also usually T and V).
  • Paints strokes, dots and circular shapes on easel.
  • Recognises self in photographs when once shown.
  • Recognises miniature toys and retrieves balls 21/8 inches at 10 feet, each eye separately.
  • May also match special single letter-cards V, O, T, H at 10 feet.

Hearing & speech:

  • Uses 200 or more recognisable words but speech shows numerous infantilisms.
  • Knows full name.
  • Talks intelligibly to self at play concerning events happening here and now.
  • Echolalia persists.
  • Continually asking questions beginning ‘What?’,‘Where?’.
  • Uses pronouns, I, me and you.
  • Stuttering in eagerness common. Says a few nursery rhymes.
  • Enjoys simple familiar stories read from picture book.
  • 6 toy test, 4 animal picture test, 1st cube test. Full doll vocabulary.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Eats skilfully with spoon and may use fork.
  • Pulls down underwear at toilet, but seldom able to replace.
  • Dry through night if lifted.
  • Very active, restless and rebellious.
  • Throws violent tantrums and when thwarted or unable to express urgent need and less easily distracted.
  • Emotionally still very dependent upon adults.
  • Prolonged domestic make-believe play (putting dolls to bed, washing clothes, driving motor cars, etc.) but with frequent reference to friendly adult.
  • Watches other children at play interestedly and occasionally joins in for a few minutes, but little notion of sharing playthings or adult’s attention.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 3 Years

Posture & large movements:

  • Walks alone upstairs with alternating feet and downstairs with two feet to step.
  • Usually jumps from bottom step.
  • Climbs nursery apparatus with agility.
  • Can turn round obstacles and corners while running and also while pushing and pulling large toys.
  • Rides tricycle and can turn wide corners on it.
  • Can walk on tiptoe.
  • Stands momentarily on one foot when shown.
  • Sits with feet crossed at ankles.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up pins, threads, etc., with each eye covered separately.
  • Builds tower of nine cubes, also (31/2 ) bridge of three from model.
  • Can close fist and wiggle thumb in imitation.
  • R and L.
  • Copies circle (also V, H, T). Imitates cross.
  • Draws person with head and usually indication of features or one other part.
  • Matches two or three primary colours (usually red and yellow correct, but may confuse blue and green).
  • Paints ‘pictures’ with large brush on easel.
  • Cuts with scissors.
  • Recognises special miniature toys at 10 feet. Performs single-letter vision test at 10 feet. Five letters.

Hearing & speech:

  • Large intelligible vocabulary but speech still shows many infantile phonetic substitutions.
  • Gives full name and sex, and (sometimes) age.
  • Uses plurals and pronouns.
  • Still talks to self in long monologues mostly concerned with the immediate present, including make-believe activities.
  • Carries on simple conversations, and verbalises past experiences.
  • Asks many questions beginning ‘What?’, ‘Where?’, ‘Who?’.
  • Listens eagerly to stories and demands favourites over and over again.
  • Knows several nursery rhymes.
  • 7 toy test, 4 animals picture test. 1st or 2nd cube test, 6 ‘high frequency’ word pictures.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Eats with fork and spoon.
  • Washes hands, but needs supervision in drying.
  • Can pull underwear down and up, but needs help with buttons. Dry through night.
  • General behaviour more amenable. Affectionate and confiding.
  • Likes to help with adult’s activities.
  • Makes effort to keep their surroundings tidy.
  • Vividly realised make-believe play including invented people and objects.
  • Enjoys floor play with bricks, boxes, alone or with siblings.
  • Joins in play with other children in and outdoors.
  • Understands sharing playthings, treats, etc.
  • Shows affection for younger siblings.
  • Shows some appreciation of past and present.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 4 Years

Posture & large movements:

  • Turns sharp corners running, pushing and pulling.
  • Walks alone up and downstairs, one foot per step.
  • Climbs ladders and trees.
  • Can run on tiptoe.
  • Expert rider of tricycle.
  • Hops on one foot.
  • Stands on one foot 3–5 seconds.
  • Arranges or picks up objects from floor by bending from waist with knees extended.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up pins, thread, crumbs, etc., with each eye covered separately.
  • Builds tower of 10 or more cubes and several ‘bridges’ of three on request.
  • Builds three steps with six cubes after demonstration.
  • Imitates spreading of hand and bringing thumb into opposition with each finger in turn, R and L. Copies cross (also V, H, T and O).
  • Draws person with head, legs, features, trunk and (often) arms.
  • Draws very simple house.
  • Matches and names four primary colours correctly.
  • Single-letter vision test at 10 feet, seven letters: also near chart to bottom.

Hearing & speech:

  • Speech completely intelligible.
  • Shows only a few infantile substitutions usually k/t/th/f/s and r/l/w/y groups).
  • Gives connected account of recent events and experiences.
  • Gives name, gender, home address and (usually) age.
  • Eternally asking questions ‘Why?‘ ‘When?’, ‘How?’ and meanings of words.
  • Listens to and tells long stories sometimes confusing fact and fantasy.
  • 7 toy test, 1st picture vocabulary test, 2nd cube test. 6 ‘high frequency’ word pictures.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Eats skilfully with spoon and fork.
  • Washes and dries hands. Brushes teeth.
  • Can undress and dress except for back buttons, laces and ties.
  • General behaviour markedly self-willed.
  • Inclined to verbal impertinence when wishes crossed but can be affectionate and compliant.
  • Strongly dramatic play and dressing-up favoured.
  • Constructive out-of-doors building with any large material to hand.
  • Needs other children to play with and is alternately co-operative and aggressive with them as with adults.
  • Understands taking turns.
  • Shows concern for younger siblings and sympathy for playmates in distress.
  • Appreciates past, present and future.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

Child Development at 5 Years

Posture & large movements:

  • Runs lightly on toes.
  • Active and skilful in climbing, sliding, swinging, digging and various ‘stunts’.
  • Skips on alternative feet.
  • Dances to music.
  • Can stand on one foot 8–10 seconds.
  • Can hop 2–3 yards forwards on each foot separately.
  • Grips strongly with either hand.

Vision & fine movements:

  • Picks up minute objects when each eye is covered separately.
  • Builds three steps with six cubes from model.
  • Copies square and triangle (also letters; V, T, H, O, X, L, A, C, U, Y).
  • Writes a few letters spontaneously. Draws recognisable person with head, trunk, legs, arms and features.
  • Draws simple house with door, windows, roof and chimney.
  • Counts fingers on one hand with index finger of other.
  • Names four primary colours and matches 10 or 12 colours.
  • Full nine-letter vision chart at 20 feet and near test to bottom.

Hearing & speech:

  • Speech fluent and grammatical.
  • Articulation correct except for residual confusions of s/f/th and r/l/w/y groups.
  • Loves stories and acts them out in detail later.
  • Gives full name, age and home address.
  • Gives age and (usually) birthday.
  • Defines concrete nouns by use.
  • Asks meaning of abstract words.
  • 12 ‘high frequency’ picture vocabulary or word lists. 3rd cube test, 6 sentences.

Social behaviour & play:

  • Uses knife and fork.
  • Washes and dries face and hands, but needs help and supervision for rest.
  • Undresses and dresses alone.
  • General behaviour more sensible, controlled and responsibly independent.
  • Domestic and dramatic play continued from day to day.
  • Plans and builds constructively.
  • Floor games very complicated.
  • Chooses own friends.
  • Co-operative with companions and understands need for rules and fair play.
  • Appreciates meaning of clock time in relation to daily programme.
  • Tender and protective towards younger children and pets.
  • Comforts playmates in distress.

Source: Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975.

The information is taken from Reports on Public Health and Medical Subjects No, 102. HMSO 1960, revised 1975. In Department of Health (1988) Protecting Children. A guide for Social Workers undertaking a Comprehensive Assessment, pp88-93).

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