Child Development

A child’s brain undergoes an amazing period of development from birth to three—producing more than a million neural connections each second. The development of the brain is influenced by many factors, including a child’s relationships, experiences and environment. Understanding the phases of development can help parents and early childhood education providers, provide the best care for young children. Below are a few resources to help understand your child’s growth and development.

  • Centers for Disease Control defines skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving “bye bye” as developmental milestones. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, act, and move (crawling, walking, etc.). Check out this resource to learn about the expected developmental milestones for children birth to age 5.
  • Strong Start Community Playgroups The Strong Start DC Early Intervention Program (DC EIP) Community Playgroups provide families with information about their child’s development, early childhood developmental screenings, early intervention process and community resources available to families across DC. The community playgroups are facilitated by early intervention professionals and provide a family-centered, child-interest driven environment for children to interact with their same-age peers, while families receive information about early intervention related topics.
    • Community playgroups are held on different days throughout each month depending  on location. Registration opens at 10 a.m. two weeks prior to the scheduled community playgroup date and closes at 10 a.m. the day before the playgroup. Space is limited and families are asked to RSVP for each playgroup session.
  • Zero to Three is an advocacy organization that ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. The ZTT website has a host of resources and videos for parents and professionals to browse that outline stages of development.
  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.
  • DC Child Care Resource and Referral Lending Library. Browse online or visit our lending libraries in person to browse through a host of books and resources regarding child development.

For more support, you can contact a Child Care Referral Specialist at (202) 829-2500 or email

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Age Range

Infants (0mo.-12mo.)
Preschool and Pre-k (36mo.-60mo.)
School Age (5yrs +)
Toddlers (12 mo.-24mo.)
Twos (24mo.-36 mo.)

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