The Domains of Development

Children develop in different stages, experiencing physical, cognitive, and social-emotional milestones along the way. The changes children go through and the milestones they reach can be categorized into different domains of human development, which helps us recognize the stages our children have passed, are currently in, and are growing into. With this knowledge, family members and care givers can nurture and respond to the needs of the children in their lives, and encourage learning and development through quality interactions – like exploring, playing, and learning together!

The Four Domains

The four Domains of Development are Communication, Curious Minds, Sense of Self & Relationships, and Strong & Healthy Bodies. Each of these describes an area of growth and learning.



Language & Literacy


This domain includes understanding the meaning of feelings and ideas expressed by others, symbol and alphabet awareness, developing reading and writing abilities, and receptive and expressive language (expression by listening and using speech, sounds, gestures, facial expressions, body language, and words).

Cognition, Knowledge & Approaches to Learning

Curious Minds

This domain includes concepts, skills, and actions that help kids explore, understand, and take an active role in the world around them, such as initiative, confidence, persistence, the ability to focus, and the development of wonder and curiosity. This domain also includes creative expression and early learning skills like social studies and STEM concepts.



Social & Emotional Health

Sense of Self & Relationships

This domain includes emotional and behavioral skills and refers to the development kids go through during which they begin to understand who they are, what they are feeling, and what to expect when interacting with others. In this domain, kids learn confidence and empathy, grow their self concept, develop relationships, and learn to manage emotions.

Physical Development, Health & Motor Skills

Strong & Healthy Bodies

This domain includes overall health status, as well as self-help skills, a growing awareness of meeting basic needs, good health and nutrition practices, and gross and fine motor skills (use and control of the body).



Explorers Club

Did you know? Kids learn best through play! Play develops cognitive skills, physical abilities, new vocabulary, social skills, literacy skills, and much more.

It’s never “just play,” it’s learning! You can find activities to do with your kids that are fun and support development in every domain by visiting the Explorers Club.