Supporting healthy development


How do we improve developmental outcomes for our children? The following chart is originally from the Ontario Ministry of Education, Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program. The chart offers guidance when making program decisions.

The chart is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but highlights key observable behaviours in all five areas of development and suggests ways of taking them into consideration. The full publication is available on the Ontario Ministry of Education’s website at

Developmental Area Some Observable Behaviours Program Considerations
Children: Teachers should:
Physical Health and Well-Being
  • are active
  • provide open space in the classroom for movement
  • ask children to sit for short periods of time only
  • are developing the hand-eye coordination and visual acuity required for close attention to detail
  • consider the developing physical capabilities of children when asking them to cut with some accuracy or to use a marker or pencil
  • need small amounts of food that are eaten at regular intervals
  • provide regular opportunities for eating healthy snacks
    Note: Teachers must be aware of possible allergies
Social Knowledge and Competence
  • are beginning to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
  • support and praise acceptable behaviour
  • are just beginning to develop  the capacity to relate to others
  • provide models and examples of appropriate ways of solving problems
  • provide children with opportunities to become aware of the needs and ideas of others through discussions and sharing
  • need and enjoy social contact to develop a sense of themselves
  • provide opportunities to develop social skills in a variety of contexts
Emotional Maturity
  • need to feel valued
  • have their own interests and ideas
  • express feelings with actions and words
  • provide opportunities for children to express their own points of view
  • provide opportunities to make independent choices
  • need others to be considerate and to attend to their personal needs
  • recognize and accept individual strengths and differences
  • provide support and, as appropriate, encourage development of independence
Cognitive Knowledge
  • are eager to learn
  • learn through interacting with the environment
  • plan learning experiences that are concrete, active, interactive, and connected to the children’s world
  • need continuity of experiences
  • establish consistent routines
  • plan a balanced, differentiated program with appropriate learning experiences that support and promote growth for each child and that are based on the learning expectations in all five developmental areas
  • provide opportunities for children to link new learning with prior knowledge
  • demonstrate different stages of recognition of letters and numerals along with related concepts
  • provide learning opportunities and activities that enable children to work at their individual level of development (within their zone of proximal development)
Communication Skills and General Knowledge
  • use language for self-regulation and for expressing needs, imagining, reasoning, and predicting
  • provide opportunities for children to use and develop language in a variety of contexts and for a variety of purposes
  • speak in simple sentences and make themselves understood by peers and adults
  • take into account children’s stage of development in oral language
  • are beginning to develop age-appropriate knowledge about the world around them
  • learn through exploration, play, discovery, investigation, inquiry, and modelling
  • create contexts through which learning can take place in ways that engage children and that build and expand their learning