Early Childhood



  1. Family support
    Parent(s) and/or primary caregiver(s) provide the child with high levels of consistent and predictable love, physical care, and positive attention in ways that are responsive to the child’s individuality.
  2. Positive family communication
    Parent(s) and/or primary caregiver(s) express themselves positively and respectfully, engaging young children in conversations that invite their input.
  3. Other adult relationships
    With the family’s support, the child experiences consistent, caring relationships with adults outside the family.
  4. Caring neighbors
    The child’s network of relationships includes neighbors who provide emotional support and a sense of belonging.
  5. Caring climate in child-care and educational settings
    Caregivers and teachers create environments that are nurturing, accepting, encouraging, and secure.
  6. Parent involvement in child care and education
    Parent(s), caregivers, and teachers together create a consistent and supportive approach to fostering the child’s successful growth.
  7. Empowerment

  8. Community cherishes and values young children
    Children are welcomed and included throughout community life.
  9. Children seen as resources
    The community demonstrates that children are valuable resources by investing in a child-rearing system of family support and high-quality activities and resources to meet children’s physical, social, and emotional needs.
  10. Service to others
    The child has opportunities to perform simple but meaningful and caring actions for others.
  11. Safety
    Parent(s), caregivers, teachers, neighbors, and the community take action to ensure children’s health and safety.
  12. Boundaries & Expectations

  13. Family boundaries
    The family provides consistent supervision for the child and maintains reasonable guidelines for behavior that the child can understand and achieve.
  14. Boundaries in child-care and educational settings
    Caregivers and educators use positive approaches to discipline and natural consequences to encourage self-regulation and acceptable behaviors.
  15. Neighborhood boundaries
    Neighbors encourage the child in positive, acceptable behavior, as well as intervene in negative behavior, in a supportive, nonthreatening way.
  16. Adult role models
    Parent(s), caregivers, and other adults model self-control, social skills, engagement in learning, and healthy lifestyles.
  17. Positive peer relationships
    Parent(s) and caregivers seek to provide opportunities for the child to interact positively with other children.
  18. Positive expectations
    Parent(s), caregivers, and teachers encourage and support the child in behaving appropriately, undertaking challenging tasks, and performing activities to the best of her or his abilities.
  19. Constructive Use of Time

  20. Play and creative activities
    The child has daily opportunities to play in ways that allow self-expression, physical activity, and interaction with others.
  21. Out-of-home and community programs
    The child experiences well-designed programs led by competent, caring adults in well maintained settings.
  22. Religious community
    The child participates in age-appropriate religious activities and caring relationships that nurture her or his spiritual development.
  23. Time at home
    The child spends most of her or his time at home participating in family activities and playing constructively, with parent(s) guiding TV and electronic game use.

    Commitment to Learning

  25. Motivation to mastery
    The child responds to new experiences with curiosity and energy, resulting in the pleasure of mastering new learning and skills.
  26. Engagement in learning experiences
    The child fully participates in a variety of activities that offer opportunities for learning.
  27. Home-program connection
    The child experiences security, consistency, and connections between home and out-of-home care programs and learning activities.
  28. Bonding to programs
    The child forms meaningful connections with out-of-home care and educational programs.
  29. Early literacy
    The child enjoys a variety of pre-reading activities, including adults reading to her or him daily, looking at and handling books, playing with a variety of media, and showing interest in pictures, letters, and numbers.
  30. Positive Values

  31. Caring
    The child begins to show empathy, understanding, and awareness of others’ feelings.
  32. Equality and social justice
    The child begins to show concern for people who are excluded from play and other activities or not treated fairly because they are different.
  33. Integrity
    The child begins to express her or his views appropriately and to stand up for a growing sense of what is fair and right.
  34. Honesty
    The child begins to understand the difference between truth and lies, and is truthful to the extent of her or his understanding.
  35. Responsibility
    The child begins to follow through on simple tasks to take care of her- or himself and to help others.
  36. Self-regulation
    The child increasingly can identify, regulate, and control her or his behaviors in healthy ways, using adult support constructively in particularly stressful situations.
  37. Social Competencies

  38. Planning and decision making
    The child begins to plan for the immediate future, choosing from among several options and trying to solve problems.
  39. Interpersonal skills
    The child cooperates, shares, plays harmoniously, and comforts others in distress.
  40. Cultural awareness and sensitivity
    The child begins to learn about her or his own cultural identity and to show acceptance of people who are racially, physically, culturally, or ethnically different from her or him.
  41. Resistance skills
    The child begins to sense danger accurately, to seek help from trusted adults, and to resist pressure from peers to participate in unacceptable or risky behavior.
  42. Peaceful conflict resolution
    The child begins to compromise and resolve conflicts without using physical aggression or hurtful language.
  43. Positive Identity

  44. Personal power
    The child can make choices that give a sense of having some influence over things that happen in her or his life.
  45. Self-esteem
    The child likes her- or himself and has a growing sense of being valued by others.
  46. Sense of purpose
    The child anticipates new opportunities, experiences, and milestones in growing up.
  47. Positive view of personal future
    The child finds the world interesting and enjoyable, and feels that he or she has a positive place in it.

The 40 Developmental Assets® may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only. Copyright © 1997 Search Institute®, 615 First Avenue NE, Suite 125, Minneapolis, MN 55413; 800-888-7828; www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.