Table 1

ECD conceptual elements by domain: ages 0–3 years

Age bandDevelopmental domains
0–6.0 monthsTracking/gaze fixing on moving objects;
sensitivity to kinetic depth cues;
identification of location of sound source;
shifting attention from unpleasant stimulus;
initiation of categorisation;
sensitivity to binocular depth cues
Grasp reflex;
voluntary motor control of head and arms;
voluntary reaching;
ulnar grasp;
coordination of spinal muscles to support sitting;
transferring object from hand to hand
Ability to phonate;
recognise and respond to familiar voice;
categorical speech perception;
screening out between familiar and unfamiliar sounds
Appearance of social smile;
active stimuli dependent laugh;
initiation of emotional self-regulation;
comprehension of others’ emotion through their tone of voice
6.1–12.0 monthsVisual categorisation of similar stimuli;
circular reaction;
object permanence;
appreciation of physical causality;
AB search error;
differentiate the subtle differences in sound;
anticipate and change events;
analogical problem-solving
Pushing trunk off floor and crawl;
redirect an arm to obtain a moving object;
pincer grasp;
eye-hand coordination to place things;
body coordination in an attempt to walk with support
Utterance of first syllable of a word;
utterance of first word (semantic development);
preverbal gestures: proto-declarative;
preverbal gesture: proto-imperative;
comprehension of simple rules
Separation anxiety;
social referencing
12.1–18.0 monthsObject sortingMatured motor coordination reflected in ability to walk independentlyUse at least two to four words (noun or verb)Stranger anxiety;
self-control reflected through delay in gratification;
emergence of compliance
18.1–24.0 monthsDeferred imitation;
object sorting- grouping objects into two categories;
ability of ordinality;
cognitive inhibition.
Smooth and rhythmic gait;
eye and body (lower limbs) coordination reflected through walking over/crossing obstacle while walking;
matured muscular coordination to support running
Telegraphic speechSelf-conscious emotions (ashamed, embarrassed, pride);
24.1–30.0 monthsMake-believe playMuscular coordination of body to move temporarily against gravityUse of state words (modifier) (attributes of object words, such as size, colour)Understanding of gender-based roles for self and others
30.1–36.0 monthsCategorisation of objects hierarchically;
Maintenance of body balance while walking on straight lineGrammatical morphemes;
metacognitive expression
Self-conscious emotions/moral values (feeling of envy, guilt, good, bad);
emotion regulation
  • Reproduced with permission from Avan et al 32.

  • ECD, early child development.