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The Assignment 
1.Begin by identifying your target child needs from the anecdotal record assignment, reference to the NC Foundations of Early Learning and Development (NC FELD) 

2.Create a developmentally appropriate lesson plan  

3.Use the attached forms to complete the plans.Grading CriteriaThe summary is graded on a 100 point scale 
********(USE Children+Learning doc for same child to finish observation)

Grading criteria

0-10 points for given the child’s name, age, date, and time
0-10 points for materials and supplies that support learning
0 – 10 points for listing specific Developmental Indicators
0-10 points Group Time, Story Time, Small Group Activity are developmentally appropriate and supports learning.
0-10 points for goals listed from NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development.
0-10 points Planning Form materials list is complete and items support learning.
0-10 points activities support the Goals and Developmental Indicators listed.
0-10 points for Extension activities that are appropriate and detailed.
0-10 points for 3 open-ended questions that support deeper learning.
0-10 points for spelling and grammar.

ResourcesSee sample forms under Resources>Useful Links for this Class>Lesson Planning Assistance.Use the attached document to complete your assignment. Link to NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development NCFELD

Lesson Plan Form 2 Infant/Toddler

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Music and Literacy
Opportunity

*Language Development and
Communication

Fine Motor Opportunity

*Approaches to Play and
Learning

*Emotional and Social
Development

*Cognitive Development

Sensory Opportunity

*Approaches to Play and
Learning

*Emotional and Social
Development

*Cognitive Development

Outdoor/Grass Motor
Opportunity

*Health and Physical
Development

Week of: ___________________________________

Lesson Plan Form 2 Preschool

Blocks Dramatic Play Manipulatives Outdoors

Art Library Discovery/Science

Sensory Music and Movement Family /Community Involvement

Lesson Plan 2 Preschool
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Group Time
(songs, stories, games,
discussions, etc.)

Sing Little Red
Caboose
Discuss different
wheel sizes for
different vehicles
CD-11p

Sing Wheel on the
Truck
Discuss different
wheel truck treads
CD-11p

Sing one Truck,
Two Truck
Discuss shapes of
wheels and find
objects similar to
wheel shape in
classroom
CD-11p

Sing wash the car
song
Discuss rims and
bolts to hold wheels
onto vehicles
CD-11j

Play Red light,
green ligh
Discuss purpose of
different vehicles,
for work of
families.
CD-2u

Story Time Freight Train by
Donald Crews

LDC-8o

Monster Trucks by
Susan Goodman

LDC-8o

See How They Go:
Trucks! By DK

LDC-8o

Cars by Robert
Crowther

LDC-8o

Garbage Trucks at
Work by D.R.
Addison
LDC-8o

Small-Group
Activities

Math Activity

Use different
vehicles with
different wheel
designs in paint to
compare patterns
on paper
CD-2w

Science Activity

Discover box
Activity- have
different wheels
from toy vehicles in
box, children will
feel and guess what
vehicles they
belong to.
CD-15r

Fine Motor Activity

Sort nuts and bolts
by size and screw
matching nut onto
bolt

CD-1n

Literacy Activity

The children will cut
pictures out of
magazines of car
parts. Paste the parts
on paper to tell a
story. Dictate the
story to a teacher.

LDC-

Large Motor
Activity
Race different
vehicles down
incline and mark
which went the
farthest and then
measure, Predict
which one will go
farther.
CD-2w

Special Activities
(site visits, special
events, etc.)

Johnny’s Dad
brings tow truck to
school

Visit the tire store

Lesson Plan Form 2

 The previous slides show one of the
forms you will use (either IT or
Preschool)

 You will select items to add, in addition to
the existing items, that will allow children
to learn about the study topic selected
and practice the developmental indicator.

 For example, I would list dump trunks,
and fire trucks in the section under
blocks for the study topic of Wheels.

Lesson Plan Form 2

 Do not list activities, list the items.
 Include the Developmental Indicator in

each box also.
Example:

BLOCKS
dump trucks

fire trucks
CD-11n

Lesson Plan Form 2

 Fill in every day, and include the specific
Developmental Indicator in each box.

 Be specific
 This is where you explain your teaching in

more detail
 Think about a substitute teacher using

your form, would they know what to do.

Large Group Time

 List songs you will sing , for example
“Wheels on the Bus”

 List concepts or changes to the learning
centers you want the children to notice.
For example, “In the Discovery area today
you will find wheels to sort and pictures
of all kind of wheel to look at. In the art
area there are vehicles for you to paint
with using their wheels and paint.”

Story Time

 List the actual book you will read, give the
title and author

 Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car by
Eileen Christelow

Small Group activity

 This is where you describe the activity
you would do with the children as you
work one-on-one or with a small group

 For the wheels topic, you may have the
children roll various size wheels down a
ramp and measure which one goes fastest
or farthest, then create a graph chart with
the children

Special Activities

 It is not necessary to fill this one out
unless you have something meaningful.
You may have a parent or staff that has a
vehicle with large wheels that could be
parked in a safe area. The children could
make wheel rubbings. Or a truck driver
may come speak to the children

LESSON PLAN FORM ONE

1) List the specific Developmental Indicators appropriate for your age group from the NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development:
2) Goals Addressed from NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development:
3) Materials/Supplies/changes introduced into the learning centers:

4) Extensions: (List at least 3 possible extensions)

5) Open ended questions (at least 3): An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject’s own knowledge and/or feelings. It is the opposite of a closed-ended question, which encourages a short or single-word answer. Often, they are not technically a question, but a statement which implicitly asks for a response.

Lesson Plan Form 2
Week of:________________________________Study/Project/Topic:_______________________________
List Items added to each learning center below that will enhance learning of the selected topic.

Blocks

Dramatic Play

Manipulatives

Outdoors

Art

Library

Discovery/Science

Sensory

Music and Movement

Family /Community Involvement

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Group Time

(songs, stories, games, discussions, etc.)

Story Time

Small-Group Activities

Math Activity

Science Activity

Fine Motor Activity

Literacy Activity

Large Motor Activity

Special Activities

(site visits, special events, etc.)

North Carolina
Foundations for
Early Learning
and Development

North Carolina Foundations Task Force

North Carolina
Foundations for
Early Learning
and Development
North Carolina Foundations Task Force

ii
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

North Carolina Foundations for
Early Learning and Development
© 2013. North Carolina Foundations
Task Force.

Writers

Catherine Scott-Little
Human Development and Family Studies Department
UNC-Greensboro

Glyn Brown
SERVE Center
UNC-Greensboro

Edna Collins
Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Editors

Lindsey Alexander
Lindsey Alexander Editorial

Katie Hume
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Designer

Gina Harrison
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Photography

Pages:
60 and 143 courtesy of
UNC-Greensboro, Child Care Education Program.

36, 54, 135, 136, front cover (group shot), and
back cover (infant) courtesy of
NC Department of Health and Human Services,
Division of Child Development and Early Education.

All others:
Don Trull, John Cotter
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

UNC-Chapel Hill

The North Carolina Foundations for Early
Learning and Development may be freely
reproduced without permission for non-profit,
educational purposes.

Electronic versions of this report are available
from the following websites:
http://ncchildcare.dhhs.state.nc.us
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/earlylearning

Suggested citation: North Carolina
Foundations Task Force. (2013). North
Carolina foundations for early learning and
development. Raleigh: Author.

Funding for this document was provided by
the North Carolina Early Childhood Advisory
Council using funds received from a federal
State Advisory Council grant from the
Administration for Children and Families, U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.

http://www.ncpublicschools.ort/earlylearning

http://www.ncpublicschools.ort/earlylearning

iii
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . v

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Purpose of Foundations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Organization of This Document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
How to Use Foundations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Domains, Subdomains, and Goals Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Guiding Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Effective Use of Foundations with All Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Foundations and Children’s Success in School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Helping Children Make Progress on Foundations Goals:
It Takes Everyone Working Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Approaches to Play and Learning (APL) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Curiosity, Information-Seeking, and Eagerness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
Play and Imagination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Risk-Taking, Problem-Solving, and Flexibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Attentiveness, Effort, and Persistence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Emotional and Social Development (ESD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Developing a Sense of Self . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Developing a Sense of Self With Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Learning About Feelings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

iv
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

Health and Physical Development (HPD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Physical Health and Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
Motor Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Self-Care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80
Safety Awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84

Language Development and Communication (LDC) . . . . . . 88
Learning to Communicate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Foundations for Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104
Foundations for Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

Cognitive Development (CD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Creative Expression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Social Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Mathematical Thinking and Expression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Scientific Exploration and Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .144

Supporting Dual Language Learners (DLL) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Defining Dual Language Learners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
The Dual Language Learning Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
DLL and Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .150
The Importance of Families . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
DLL and Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155

Selected Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

v
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

Acknowledgments

I
n 2011, the North Carolina Early Childhood
Advisory Council (ECAC) launched and
funded the important project of revising
the Infant-Toddler Foundations and
Preschool Foundations to create the North

Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and
Development—a single document that describes
children’s development and learning from birth
to age five. Leaders from the Division of Child
Development and Early Education as well as
the Office of Early Learning in the Department
of Public Instruction provided critical advice,
oversight, and vision on the Foundations and its
implementation. As listed below, many individuals
from across the state devoted their time and
expertise to this task force. We are grateful to
everyone’s work on this important resource for
our state.

This publication is dedicated to North Carolina’s
early childhood professionals, teachers, and
caregivers who nurture and support the
development of many young children while their
families work or are in school.

Expert Reviewers

Laura Berk
Professor Emeritus, Psychology Department
Illinois State University

Sharon Glover
Cultural Competence Consultant
Glover and Associates

Melissa Johnson
Pediatric Psychologist
WakeMed Health and Hospitals

Patsy Pierce
Speech Language Pathologist
Legislative Analyst
NC General Assembly Research Division

NC Foundations Task Force
Inter-Agency Leadership Team

Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Deb Cassidy
Anna Carter
Edna Collins
Jani Kozlowski
Lorie Pugh

Office of Early Learning
NC Department of Public Instruction

John Pruette
Jody Koon

Human Development and Family Studies Department
UNC-Greensboro

Catherine Scott-Little, Co-Facilitator
Sheresa Boone Blanchard

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Kelly Maxwell, Co-Facilitator

vi
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

NC Foundations Task Force (cont .)
Foundations Revisions Expert

Workgroup

Norm Allard
Pre-K Exceptional Children Consultant
Office of Early Learning
NC Department of Public Instruction

Joe Appleton
Kindergarten Teacher
Sandy Ridge Elementary School

Cindy Bagwell
Co-Chair of Cognitive Development Workgroup
Early Childhood Education Consultant
Office of Early Learning
NC Department of Public Instruction

Harriette Bailey
Assistant Professor
Birth-Kindergarten Program Coordinator
Department of Education, Shaw University

Sheila Bazemore
Education Consultant
Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Bonnie Beam
Director
Office of School Readiness, Cleveland County Schools

Gwen Brown
Regulatory Supervisor
Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Paula Cancro
Preschool Director
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School

Deborah Carroll
Branch Head
Early Intervention, Division of Public Health
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Kathryn Clark
Professor, Child Development Program Coordinator
Child Development, Meredith College

Renee Cockrell
Pediatrician
Rocky Mount Children’s Developmental Services Agency

Lanier DeGrella
Infant Toddler Enhancement Project Manager
Child Care Services Association

Sherry Franklin
Quality Improvement Unit Manager
Division of Public Health
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Kate Gallagher
Child Care Program Director
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Khari Garvin
Director, Head Start State Collaboration Office
Office of Early Learning
NC Department of Public Instruction

Cristina Gillanders
Scientist
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Pamela Hauser
Child Care Licensing Consultant
Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Ronda Hawkins
Chair of Emotional and Social Development Workgroup
Early Childhood Program Coordinator
Sandhills Community College

Patricia Hearron
Chair of Approaches to Learning Workgroup
Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences
Appalachian State University

Staci Herman-Drauss
Infant Toddler Education Specialist
Child Care Services Association

Vivian James
619 Coordinator
Pre-K Exceptional Children, Office of Early Learning
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

LaTonya Kennedy
Teacher
Mountain Area Child and Family Center

Doré LaForett
Investigator
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Beth Leiro
Physical Therapist
Beth Leiro Pediatric Physical Therapy

Gerri Mattson
Pediatric Medical Consultant
Division of Public Health
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Janet McGinnis
Education Consultant
Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

vii
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

NC Foundations Task Force (cont .)
Margaret Mobley

Manager, Promoting Healthy Social Behavior in
Child Care Settings
Child Care Resources, Inc.

Judy Neimeyer
Professor Emerita
Specialized Education Services
UNC-Greensboro

Eva Phillips
Instructor, Birth-Kindergarten Education
Winston-Salem State University

Jackie Quirk
Chair of Health and Physical Development Workgroup
Project Coordinator
NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Amy Scrinzi
Co-Chair of Cognitive Development Workgroup
Early Mathematics Consultant
Curriculum and Instruction Division
NC Department of Public Instruction

Janet Singerman
President
Child Care Resources, Inc.

Diane Strangis
Assistant Professor
Child Development, Meredith College

Dan Tetreault
Chair of Language and Communication Workgroup
K–2 English Language Arts Consultant
Curriculum and Instruction Division
NC Department of Public Instruction

Brenda Williamson
Assistant Professor, Birth-Kindergarten Teacher Education
Program Coordinator
NC Central University

Gale Wilson
Regional Specialist
NC Partnership for Children

Catherine Woodall
Education Consultant
Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Doyle Woodall
Preschool Teacher
Johnston County Schools

Dual Language Learners Advisory
Team

Catherine Scott-Little, Chair
Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
UNC-Greensboro

Tanya Dennis
Telamon Corporation

Shari Funkhouser
Pre-K Lead Teacher
Asheboro City Schools

Cristina Gillanders
Scientist
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Belinda J. Hardin
Associate Professor, Specialized Education Services
UNC-Greensboro

Norma A. Hinderliter
Special Education Expert

Adriana Martinez
Director
Spanish for Fun Academy

Tasha Owens-Green
Child Care and Development Fund Coordinator
Division of Child Development and Early Education
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Gexenia E. Pardilla
Latino Outreach Specialist
Child Care Resources Inc.

Jeanne Wakefield
Executive Director
The University Child Care Center

Strategies Workgroup

Sheresa Boone Blanchard, Chair
Child Development and Family Studies
UNC-Greensboro

Patsy Brown
Exceptional Children Preschool Coordinator
Yadkin County Schools

Kristine Earl
Assistant Director
Exceptional Children’s Department
Iredell-Statesville Schools

Cristina Gillanders
Scientist
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
UNC-Chapel Hill

Wendy H-G Gray
Exceptional Children Preschool Coordinator
Pitt County School System

viii
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

NC Foundations Task Force (cont .)
Patricia Hearron

Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences
Appalachian State University

Staci Herman-Drauss
Infant Toddler Education Specialist
Child Care Services Association

Tami Holtzmann
Preschool Coordinator
Thomasville City Schools

Renee Johnson
Preschool Coordinator
Edgecombe County Public School

Jenny Kurzer
Exceptional Children Preschool Coordinator
Burke County Public Schools

Brenda Little
Preschool Coordinator
Stokes County Schools

Karen J. Long
Infant Toddler Specialist
Child Care Resources, Inc

Jackie Quirk
Project Coordinator
NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Brenda Sigmon
Preschool Coordinator
Catawba County/Newton Conover Preschool Program

Teresa Smith
Preschool Coordinator
Beaufort County Schools

Susan Travers
Exceptional Children Curriculum Manager and
Preschool Coordinator
Buncombe County Schools

Rhonda Wiggins
Exceptional Children Preschool Coordinator
Wayne County Public Schools

1
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

Introduction

North Carolina’s young children. This document,
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning
and Development (referred to as Foundations),
serves as a shared vision for what we want for our
state’s children and answers the question “What
should we be helping children learn before
kindergarten?” By providing a common set of
Goals and Developmental Indicators for children
from birth through kindergarten entry, our
hope is that parents, educators, administrators,
and policy makers can together do the best job
possible to provide experiences that help children
be well prepared for success in school and life.

This Introduction provides important
information that adults need in order to
use Foundations effectively. We discuss the
purpose of the document, how it should be
used, and what’s included. We’ve also tried
to answer questions that you might have, all
in an effort to help readers understand and
use Foundations as a guide for what we want
children to learn during their earliest years.

Foundations
can be used to:

• Improve teachers’ knowledge of child
development;

• Guide teachers’ plans for implementing
curricula;

• Establish goals for children’s
development and learning that are
shared across programs and services;
and

• Inform parents and other family
members on age-appropriate
expectations for children’s development
and learning.

C
hildren’s experiences before they
enter school matter—research
shows that children who experience
high-quality care and education,
and who enter school well prepared,

are more successful in school and later in
their lives. Recognizing the importance of the
early childhood period, North Carolina has
been a national leader in the effort to provide
high-quality care and education for young
children. Programs and services such as Smart
Start, NC Pre-K, early literacy initiatives, Nurse
Family Partnerships and other home visiting
programs, and numerous other initiatives
promote children’s learning and development.
Quality improvement initiatives such as our
Star Rated License, Child Care Resource and
Referral (CCR&R) agencies, T.E.A.C.H. Early
Childhood® Scholarship Project, and the Child
Care W.A.G.E.S.® Project are designed to improve
the quality of programs and services and, in turn,
benefit children. Although the approaches are
different, these programs and initiatives share a
similar goal—to promote better outcomes for

2
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

Purpose of
Foundations
North Carolina’s Early Childhood Advisory
Committee, Division of Child Development and
Early Education, and Department of Public
Instruction Office of Early Learning worked
together to develop Foundations to provide
a resource for all programs in the state.
Foundations describes Goals for all children’s
development and learning, no matter what
program they may be served in, what language
they speak, what disabilities they may have,
or what family circumstances they are
growing up in. Teachers and caregivers can
turn to Foundations to learn about child
development because the document provides
age-appropriate Goals and Developmental
Indicators for each age level—infant, toddler,
and preschooler. Foundations is also intended
to be a guide for teaching–not a curriculum
or checklist that is used to assess children’s
development and learning, but a resource
to define the skills and abilities we want
to support in the learning experiences we
provide for children. The Goals for children
can be used by teachers, caregivers, early
interventionists, home visitors, and other
professionals who support and promote
children’s development and learning. It is,

A Note About Terminology

Foundations is designed to be useful
to a broad range of professionals who
work with children. In this document we
refer to “teachers and caregivers.” This
terminology includes anyone who works
with children—teachers, caregivers, early
educators, early interventionists, home
visitors, etc. The document also refers to
“children” generically, which is intended
to include infants, toddlers, and preschool
children.

however, important to remember that while
Foundations can help you determine what
is “typical” for children in an age group, the
Developmental Indicators may not always
describe a particular child’s development.
When a child’s development and learning
does not seem to fit what is included in the
continuum under his/her age level, look at the
Developmental Indicators for younger or older
age groups to see if they are a better fit for the
child. Your goal is to learn what developmental
steps the child is taking now, and to meet the
individual needs of that child on a daily basis.

Foundations can also be used as a resource
for parents and other family members. All
parents wonder if their child is learning what’s
needed in order to be successful in school.
Parents will find it helpful to review the Goals
and Developmental Indicators to learn what
most early educators in North Carolina feel are
appropriate goals for young children.

Finally, Foundations is a useful document
for individuals who do not work directly
with children, but who support teachers
and caregivers in their work. It is important
to take stock to see if a program’s learning
environment, teaching materials, learning
activities, and interactions are supporting
children’s development in the areas described

3
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

in Foundations. Administrators can use
Foundations as a guide to evaluate the types
of learning experiences provided in their
program. Foundations can also be a resource
to identify areas where teachers and caregivers
need to improve their practices and as a
basis for professional development. Training
and technical assistance providers should
evaluate the support they provide to teachers
and caregivers to ensure that the professional
development is consistent with the Goals and
Developmental Indicators. Furthermore,
Foundations can be used as a textbook in
higher education courses and a training manual
for in-service professional development. In
summary, Foundations is designed to be a
resource for teachers, caregivers, parents,
administrators, and professional development
providers as we work together to support the
learning and development of North Carolina’s
youngest children.

Organization of
This Document
This document begins with this Introduction,
which provides background information
on the use of Foundations. Following the
Introduction, you will find the Goals and
Developmental Indicators, which describe

expectations for what children will learn prior
to kindergarten, starting with infancy and
covering all ages through kindergarten entry.
A glossary with definitions of key terms that
are used throughout Foundations is included
at the end of the document.

The Goals and Developmental Indicators are
divided into five domains:
• Approaches to Play and Learning (APL)
• Emotional and Social Development (ESD)
• Health and Physical Development (HPD)
• Language Development and

Communication (LDC)
• Cognitive Development (CD)

Because infants’, toddlers’, and preschool
children’s bodies, feelings, thinking skills,
language, social skills, love of learning, and
knowledge all develop together, it is essential
that we include all five of these domains in
Foundations. None of the domains is more
or less important than others, and there is
some overlap between what is covered in one
domain and what’s covered in other domains.
This is because children’s development
and learning is integrated or interrelated.
The progress that a child makes in one
domain is related to the progress he or she
makes in other domains. For example, as
a child interacts with adults (i.e., Social

Development), she/he learns new words
(i.e., Language Development) that help her/
him understand new concepts (i.e., Cognitive
Development). Therefore, it is essential that
Foundations address all five domains, and
that teachers and caregivers who are using
Foundations pay attention to all five domains.

At the beginning of each domain section,
you will find a domain introduction that
describes some of the most important ideas
related to the domain. This introductory
information helps you understand what
aspects of children’s learning and development
are included in the domain. The introduction
is followed by the Goal and Developmental
Indicator Continuum (sometimes called a
“Continuum” for short in this document) for
each domain. The Continuum for each domain
is a chart that shows the Goals for the domain,
and the Developmental Indicators related to
each Goal for each age level. As the sample
chart on the next page shows, North Carolina
has elected to arrange our Developmental
Indicators along a continuum so that all of
the Developmental Indicators for the age
levels between birth and kindergarten entry
are included on the same row. This format
allows teachers and caregivers to easily look
across the age levels to see the progression
that a child might make toward the Goal.

4
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

The Goals are organized in subdomains
or subtopics that fall within the domain.
Goals are statements that describe a general
area or aspect of development that children

make progress on through birth through
age five. The Developmental Indicators
are more specific statements of expectations
for children’s learning and development

that are tied to particular age levels. A Goal
and Developmental Indicator Continuum is
provided for each Goal.

28
North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development

Approaches to Play and Learning (APL)
Curiosity, Information-Seeking, and Eagerness

Goal APL-1: …

DOCUMENTING CHILDREN 1

Kira Hernandez

Documenting Children Learning

Childs Name: Adriel K

Age: 4 years

Date and Time: March 21, 2021, 10:00pm

Learning Centre: Playgroup

Observed Behaviors

Adriel K, is a four-year-old child learning about numbers. Adriel is able to count from one

to twenty and struggles to continue up to thirty. Adriel spends 3 minutes counting while singing

from numbers 1 to 20. From numbers twenty-one to thirty, Adriel struggles as he misplaces certain

numbers like twenty-three coming before twenty-two and twenty-seven coming before twenty-six.

Adriel is able to use a song to count the numbers correctly and does not seem to struggle in the

count. He is able to sing the numbers to his friend Bethel explaining that after number ten we go to

eleven then twelve and so on. This was the physical domain.

At 10:30 am, Adriel goes outside the classroom and decides to play a game of tag with the

friend Bethel. They run around screaming as they try to catch one another. They are joined by two

other children Alicia and Darwin. They run after one another screaming until the teacher tells them

to stop running as they might get injured. Adriel responds “Yes teacher.” This is social domain that

shows how Adriel is able to interact with his friends. At 11:00 am back in class, the teacher shows

them numbers from forty to fifty. Adriel is unable to recognize most of the numbers and responds

by telling the teacher “I don’t know.” The teacher smiles and reassures Adriel not to worry. This is

cognitive domain that shows Adriel’s interaction with the teacher and the difficulty in

understanding abstract concepts.

2

Thoughts that Guided the Observation

i. Did Adriel enjoy what he was doing?

ii. What was the amount of energy used?

iii. Is Adriel a social child?

iv. Can Adriel ask for help from adults?

Findings

Adriel was interested in what he was doing as he kept singing about the numbers from one

to twenty. He was happy singing about the numbers and would concentrate for five minutes’ while

singing. He is a social child who would play and interact with other children. with other children.

He is also able to interact with the teacher both inside and outside the classroom.

New questions

i. How does Adriel interact with the parents?

ii. Does he enjoy the activities with the parents?

3

Reference

Celeste C., Stephanie M and Hayley J. (2019). Anecdotal Records. Practical Strategies for Taking

Meaningful Notes.

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