Child Development

At the Great Start Collaborative Program, we understand the importance of early childhood development and the impact it has on a child’s future success. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing families with the information and resources they need to support their children’s growth and development. This page features information on childhood development, including articles, videos, and educational resources. Whether you’re looking to learn about the different stages of childhood development, understand how children learn and play, or discover new ways to support your child’s growth

School Readiness

Preparing Parents and Children

School Readiness means that children are ready for schools, families are ready to support their children’s learning, and schools are ready for children.

  • Physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development are all essential ingredients of school readiness.​ Including:
    • Approaches to Learning
    • Social and Emotional Development
    • Language and Literacy
    • Cognition
    • Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development
  • Implementing and measuring progress toward school readiness goals and preparing children for kindergarten.


Is My Child On Track?

Track Your Child's Development


Families with children between the ages of 2 months and five can complete screenings. Results tell parents what to expect at each state of development. Often times, early diagnosis can help give a child the best opportunity to reach their potential.

Developmental Screening

Key Focus Areas: 
  • ​​Fine Motor​
  • Gross Motor​
  • Communication 
  • Problem Solving
  • Personal-Social 

Social-Emotional Screening

  • ​​Self Regulation
  • Compliance
  • Communication
  • Adaptive Functioning
  • Autonomy​
  • Affect
  • People Interaction

Social & Emotional Health

Social emotional health is a child’s growing ability to:

Why is social emotional health so important?

Social and emotional skills are as important
as ABC’s and 1, 2, 3’s. Babies need relationships with loving adults to
learn these skills. Loving relationships also help babies’ brains to
grow and develop.

When children have this healthy foundation, they are more likely to:

  • make friends
  • follow directions
  • control emotions
  • solve problems 
  • focus on tasks

Children who do not have these social and emotional skills are less prepared to learn in school.

They are more likely to:

  • have trouble making friends
  • have behavior problems like biting, hitting, using unkind words or bullying
  • have difficulty learning
  • drop out of school

Early social emotional problems have been linked to later mental and physical problems like depression, and obesity.


Challenging experiences occur in the lives of all children.

Some of these experiences might challenge a child’s ability to see the world as a safe and predictable place:

  • New caregiver, school or program
  • Family financial worries
  • Exposure to domestic or community violence
  • Loss of family member, friend or pet
  • New sibling
  • Hospitalization
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Family illness
  • Multiple caregivers

Indicators that a child may be struggling to make sense of challenging or traumatic experiences include:

  • Hurting self or others
  • Excessive screaming
  • Destroying property
  • Difficulty calming self
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Toileting issues
  • Silent and/or withdrawn
  • Running away
  • Difficulty participating in group experiences
  • Difficulty moving from one activity to another

To help a child feel physically safe and emotionally secure, adults can:

  • Focus on nurturing relationships
  • Recognize impact of challenging experiences
  • Consider child’s perspective
  • Develop predictable routines and expectations
  • Enjoy positive moments with child
  • Participate in back-and-forth interactions
  • Teach problem solving skills
  • Acknowledge feelings, efforts and progress
  • Avoid using shame or humiliation
  • Practice how to cope with strong feelings
  • Find ways to stay calm in times of stress
  • Reach out for help

From the Social and Emotional Health of Children Birth to Age 8 Fact Sheet

Learning Together

Access Education Materials

These materials were developed under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education.

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