Developing Self

Social and Emotional Learning and Development


Goal 1: Children demonstrate an awareness of own personal characteristics, skills and abilities

By the end of each age group or grade level, most children will have met prior age group or grade level standards in this domain.

Infants Through Older Toddlers


(0-12 Months)

  1. Show awareness of own body
  2. Recognize physical attributes of self and familiar people e.g., baby’s toes, gramma’s glasses, daddy vs mommy
  3. Show beginning awareness of own skills e.g., uses finger to push button on toy
  4. Attend with interest when others show they are happy, sad, or fearful by their facial expressions, voices, or actions
  5. Show awareness of familiar routines by behaviors (e.g., opening mouth for feeding or lifting arms to be picked up)

Young Toddlers

(9-18 Months)

  1. Express self as individual through gestures, actions, and language e.g., me/mine
  2. Recognize own skills and abilities e.g., if I blow on this wand bubbles will come out
  3. Use skills and abilities to meet own needs e.g., picks up book and brings to daddy
  4. Respond to others’ emotional expressions, often by sharing an emotional reaction (e.g., showing excitement when other children are excited)
  5. Anticipate familiar routines or activities (e.g., getting shoes when it’s time to go or looking for parent when it’s time to go home)

Older Toddlers

(18-36 Months)

  1. Demonstrate behaviors that reflect self-concept e.g., practices building block tower
  2. Show increased awareness of own abilities and demonstrates self-confidence
  3. Display assertiveness e.g., “Let me do it!”
  4. Show understanding of some emotional expressions of others by labeling the emotions, asking questions, or responding in appropriate non-verbal ways.
  5. Refer to personal or family experiences that have happened in recent past (e.g., grandparent visit or family celebration)
Younger Preschoolers Through Kindergartners

Younger Preschoolers

(36-48 months)

  1. Identify personal characteristics, preferences, thoughts, and feelings
  2. Stand up for own rights
  3. Make choice based on their own likes and dislikes
  4. Identify own gender, family members roles, and home culture
  5. Demonstrate growing independence in a range of activities, routines, and tasks.

Older Preschoolers

(48-60 months)

  1. Express needs of self and others
  2. Stand up for rights of self and others
  3. Make choices and understand consequences
  4. Show confidence in range of abilities and in the capacity to accomplish tasks and take on new tasks
  5. Express cultural influences from home, neighborhood and community e.g., celebrating traditions
  6. Demonstrate an understanding and acceptance of similarities and differences among people e.g., gender, race, special needs, culture, language and family


  1. Recognize how own actions affect others
  2. Manage feelings and social situations with greater independence
  3. Report to friends or adult about a family or a cultural tradition
  4. Demonstrate the ability to allow for own personal space and respect others space
  5. Offer to help younger children do things they can’t do for themselves
  6. Identify self within the context of family, school and community (e.g., big brother, friend, neighbor)
First Graders Through Third Graders

First Graders

  1. Recognize different cultural ethnic groups
  2. Display knowledge and pride in personal cultural ethnic heritage
  3. Show pride in own work or accomplishment
  4. Recognize that others may experience situations differently
  5. Relate identifying information about self and others e.g., states address, phone number, birthday

Second Graders

  1. Inquire about own family history and culture
  2. Base friendships on mutual enjoyment and activities
  3. Connect with other children in different settings and cultures
  4. Show pride in their own and others work or accomplishments
  5. Seek acceptance from peer group
  6. Recognize that others may have different perspectives based on various experiences

Third Graders

  1. Write about themselves in the context of family, culture and environment
  2. Engage in the sharing of other’s viewpoints on a variety of topics
  3. Gain acceptance of peers by checking to ensure that they are in agreement
  4. Take responsibility for own well-being

Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

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