From age two to age three pretend play becomes the dominating theme in social development. Our little girl imitates us and wants to help with simple household tasks. She imitates the play of children around her and wants to play alongside other children with dolls or cars or building blocks. She loves to take a role in pretend play (the mommy, the teacher, or the driver of the car). Interestingly, from a Mr. Rogers perspective on how everything grows together, all the other markers on our developmental map in self help, gross motor, fine motor, and language skills are based upon the imitation of the behavior of others.
The markers in self-help skills from age two to three include opening a door by turning a knob, washing and drying hands, and dressing herself with help. Consider a two to three year old in an Amazon jungle society without doorknobs, clothing as we know, or sinks, soap, and towels. The two to three year old in this society would still have the drive to imitate adult behavior, but the markers to her development would be different. They may be pulling aside palm fronds to enter a living space, using a stream to wash, and putting on a beaded necklace. In other words this little girl, developing at the same pace as a western culture child, would have different makers to self-help development based upon the behavior she sees everyday in her world.
Gross motor developmental markers in this age range include climbing on playground equipment, standing on one foot without support, and walking up and down stairs with one foot per step. All of these markers require the development of strength and balance but also the drive to imitate the climbing and moving as she observes others in her world. We can imagine our rain forest child imitating the movement patterns of adults and children in her society, climbing on trees and rocks as they go about life.
Dr. Harry Ireton indicates the markers in fine motor development in our western culture include scribbling, drawing a vertical line, and making cuts with scissors. Our little girl has watched our behavior for two years as we write letters or cut coupons. No wonder that with her ability to manipulate small objects she is now driven to write and cut as we do. Our jungle child might be collecting feathers and stones to use in her art work or making grinding motions with smooth stones as she watches her mother prepare food.
Language development takes off at an unbelievable pace from now on. Our little girl talks in two to three word sentences most of the time and understands at least four prepositions such as in, on, under, and beside. She probably says NO a lot, continuing her drive toward independence. If her hearing hasn’t been hampered by the effects of secondhand smoke or other physical limitations to hearing and sound production, she has heard our words clearly and we now hear her words clearly also as the mechanics of producing sound develop. I cannot guess what our child of the rain forest is saying, but if I could hear and understand how her parents speak, I could guess at what her language would be. Whatever her language might be, she would be driven by the need to imitate those around her whom she loves and looks up to.
Twinkletime Rhymes to Print