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Developmental milestones

Key skills, such as learning to walk, used to check a child's progress against average development

Stimulating enviornment

A place in which babies have a wide variety of things to see, taste, smell, hear and touch

Growth chart

A chart that shows the average heights and weights of children at different ages


Refers to the size relationship between different parts of the body

Depth perception

The ability to perceive objects as three-dimensional, not flat


Instinctive, automatic responses, such as grasping, sneezing or sucking in infants

Gross motor skills

Skills involve the large muscles of the body, such as those of the leg and shoulders

Fine motor skills

Skills involve the smaller muscles of the body, such as those in the fingers

hand-eye coordination

Ability to move the hands and fingers precisely in relation to what is seen. Needed for skills such as cutting


Substances produced by the body to fight off germs


The effects of lack of enough food or adequate amounts needed nutrients.

Shaken baby syndrome

Condition that occurs when someone severely shakes a baby, usually in an effort to get the baby to stop crying


Changing from drinking for the bottle or breast to a cup

Cradle cap

Skin condition in infancy known for yellowish, crusty patches on the scalp

Diaper rash

Skin condition that includes patches of rough, irriated skin in the diaper area. Sometimes, painful raw spots also develop


The process, sometimes painful, by which teeth push their way through the gums


Shots of a small amount of a dead or weakened disease-carrying germ given in order that the body may build resistance to the disease


Small amount of a dead or weakened disease-carrying germ that is injected so that the body can build resistance to the disease

Emotional development

Process of learning to recognize and express feelings and establish a unique personal identity

Social development

Process of learning self-expression and how to interact with others


Bond between two people, such as between a child and a parent or other primary caregiver

Failure to thrive

Condition in which babies fail to grow and develop properly because of lack of love and attention


Persons unique nature, which determines how he or she reacts to others and to the world


Condition in babies that results in extended periods of crying


Condition in which partially digested food rises in the throat.


Nerve cell

Neural pathways

Links between neurons that "wire" the brain so that the brain can control different body functions and thinking processes


Part of the brains cerebrum. Its growth permits more complex learning


The connection between neurons that transmits instructions from the cell body to another neuron


Waxy, protein-based substance that coats axons, making it easier to transmit information from one neuron to another


Branchlike features at the end of each axon that receive messages from other neurons


Tiny gaps between dendrites where messages are transmitted from one neuron to another


Chemicals released by axons that attach to dendrites with certain kinds of receptors


Ability to learn from sensory information

Attention span

Length of time a person can concentrate on a task without getting bored

Sensorimortor period

Psychologist Jean Piagets first stage of learning, from birth to about age 2

Object permanence

Concept that objects continue to exist even wehn they are out of sight

Imaginative play

Fantasy or dramatic play which imitates real-life situations

Symbolic thinking

Use of words and numbers to stand for ideas


General categories of objects and information

Age appropriate

Things that are suitable for the age and individual needs of a child


To take steps to protect a child from possible dangers in the home or early childhood classroom


To work with the hands

Stranger anxiety

a fear of unfamiliar people, usually expressed by crying

Play environment

comfortable space with no dangers and with toys that are safe and interesting

Cause and effect

one event is caused by another

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