Child Care Terms

Like every profession, child care has its own special terminology. You know, the language used by Early Childhood Education specialists, (ECE teacher, director) to refer to your child's developmental growth.

It may all sound a little confusing to the parent-on-the-street, so Parent Care thought we'd clarify a few of the most common early childhood buzzwords.

For example, when your child care provider talks about your child's cognitive or intellectual development, she is referring to your child's thought process; how he or she figures things out, like the difference between red and green, or that it's not good to bite his friend.


Cognition is defined as the act or process of knowing. It includes imagination, thinking, remembering, speech, understanding one's behavior and the environment.

Social and/or emotional development (sometimes called skills)

Social and/or emotional development is how your child is adjusting to the world and the other people in it. It explains your child's interactions with others as well as his or her understanding of these interactions which generally involve his or her parents, peers, and, to some extent, television. Yes television.

Motor skills

Fine motor skills applies to basic hand-to-eye coordination, such as in a child learning to feed himself with a spoon, or in cutting out a picture using scissors. Other fine motor skills include buttoning, tying shoes, and colouring.

Gross motor skills, on the other hand, relates to the large muscles like those used for rolling over and sitting up, running, climbing, walking and basic body coordination.

When it comes to child care, positive communication is crucial.. Understanding what is being said is a step in the right direction.