How Do I Know My Child’s Learning Level?

As parents and teachers, it seems we all catch ourselves worrying over whether or not our children are reaching the “right” developmental milestones. It’s during those fleeting moments of doubt that we must remember (and remind each other) that learning is a process. Every child develops at her own rate.

To locate where on the Developmental Continuum of Skills your child is positioned today, and to help your child take the next step in her learning journey, start with a simple first step.

Step 1: Observe

Observe how she plays and look for similar actions in a skill benchmark (an indicator that helps you see at which level the child is achieving for each goal).

We provide a skill continuum that outlines the benchmarks for each goal across 7 Domains of Learning. This chart helps break down the unique developmental level of each child. Our benchmarks are listed from benchmarks 1-8. Print the poster here to have on hand as you observe.

Age is not an indictor of developmental level. Research by Piaget has recognized biobehavioral shifts that occur between infant, toddler, preschool and primary age levels. You will see these shifts noted along the top of the continuum above benchmarks 1-8. When looking at the benchmarks, you will see that

  • Benchmark 1 is most related to infant level of learning.
  • Benchmarks 2 and 3 are indicators of toddler behavior.
  • Benchmarks 3, 4 and 5 are outcomes typical for many preschoolers.
  • Benchmarks 6 and 7 are common for Pre-K and kindergarten levels.

In the Experience Preschool Curriculum is designed for ages approximately 3-5 years old. Each activity is written to support the benchmark 4 developmental level. Skills are listed directly under the title.

The first skill listed will always have an Observe prompt below the activity. In the small group activity, you will find a simplify and challenge prompt. The simplify explains how to offer more support and therefore reflects the benchmark level 3. The challenge prompt reflects benchmark 5. 

Every activity in the Experience Preschool curriculum integrates skills that you can observe and document but we recommend you start with the starred activities to start recording your observations and assessments.

Activities within the Preschool Teacher Guides are written to correspond to the benchmark level 4 on the continuum chart.

  • Benchmark 2 Assessed activity requires simplification for the child to complete it.
  • Benchmark 3 The child completes the assessed activity with help.
  • Benchmark 4 The child completes the assessed activity on his own.
  • Benchmark 5 The child completes the assessed activity with ease and extends it.

Step 2: Note the Overlap

You will notice that there is an overlap between levels. Learning is gradual and happens over time. Experience Curriculum supports developmental levels from toddler through PreK. This is accomplished by a scaffolded approach to lesson planning, so you can have children of different ages and/or different developmental levels within your program and still use one, unified system.

As you observe each child, if you find that many of the Experience Curriculum Teacher Guide activities seem too challenging, your child may benefit from the activities suggested in the Little Learners Teacher Guide.

  • The Experience Curriculum Teacher Guide is written for developmental benchmarks between 3-5.
  • The Little Learners Guide suggests developmentally appropriate activities for children who are at 2-3 benchmarks .

Step 3: Use Tools to Adapt

One of the greatest benefits of Experience Curriculum is that it grows with your child’s development. Whether you reference the Teacher Guide or Little Learners Guide, you use the same games, art supplies and materials that are all included in your Experience Curriculum Kit. This is great for multi-age groups where many different learning levels are represented!

Did you find these skills charts helpful? Let us know! Contact the Experience Curriculum Team at

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