Early Learning: Condition Information

What is early learning?

Children begin learning in the womb. From the moment they’re born, interaction with the world around them helps them build crucial skills. For example:1

  • By 3 months of age, babies can recognize people they know.
  • By 8 to 12 months, babies can recognize themselves in the mirror.
  • From 18 months to preschool age, children can learn nine new words each day.

Children learn all kinds of basic skills and concepts from the people and world around them:

  • In the first few years of life, children start to become independent, learning how to act and how to control their emotions and behaviors.
  • They learn language; math skills such as shapes, numbers, and counting; pre-reading skills like how to hold a book and follow along as someone reads to them; and, with them, skills for lifelong learning.
  • They also start forming relationships of trust and develop ways to handle and resolve problems.

Making sure children have good learning experiences during their early years—whether at home, in childcare, or in preschool—will support their lifelong learning, health, and well-being.


  1. Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development. (2009). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Retrieved February 4, 2015, from http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9824/from-neurons-to-neighborhoods-the-science-of-early-childhood-development External Web Site Policy [top]

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