ATL-REG Measure 4: Curiosity and Initiative in Learning

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Definition: Child explores the environment in increasingly focused ways to learn about people, things, materials, and events

alt-reg measure 4

View examples of the developmental levels for ATL-REG Measure 4 below: Responding Earlier, Responding Later, Exploring Earlier, Exploring Later, Building Earlier, Buidling Middle, Building Later, Integrating Earlier



Note: For young children, learning is an integrated experience. The examples below may include multiple areas of learning and development.

Responding Earlier

Responds to people, things, or sounds

Possible Examples

  • Orients toward a noise.
  • Turns head toward a person who comes into view or begins talking.
  • Looks at a mobile.



Responding Later

Notices new or unexpected characteristics or actions of people or things

Possible Examples

  • Vocalizes or gazes at a familiar adult who makes an animated facial expression or unusual noise.
  • Smiles when an adult begins singing a song.
  • Moves arms or legs when a mobile begins moving overhead.

Source: California Department of Education. 2009. California Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations Series.

Exploring Earlier

Explores people or things in the immediate environment

Possible Examples

  • Bangs a drum with hands repeatedly.
  • Touches hair of another child.
  • Pats, pulls on, or turns pages of a board book.
  • Watches intently as an adult prepares snack.

Source: California Department of Education. 2009. California Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations Series.

Exploring Later

Explores new ways to use familiar things, including simple trial and error

Possible Examples

  • Paints on paper and on arm when given a paintbrush and paint.
  • Molds sand using a cup.
  • Tries using utensils to work with play dough.



Building Earlier

Explores through simple observations, or manipulations, or asking simple questions

Possible Examples

  • Moves around a fish bowl to continue watching a fish as it swims around objects.
  • Drops a marble in a maze and follows its path as it rolls to the bottom.
  • Asks, “What’s that doing?” when seeing or hearing a bulldozer across the street while on a neighborhood walk.

Source: California Department of Education. 2015. California Preschool Learning and Development Foundations Series.

Building Middle

Explores by engaging in specific observations, manipulations, or by asking specific questions

Possible Examples

  • Puts a dry sponge in water and then squeezes it to see what happens.
  • Observes a snail and asks, “Why do snails have shells?”
  • Compares color or shape of leaves gathered on a nature walk.

Source: California Department of Education. 2015. 

Building Later

Carries out simple investigations using familiar strategies, tools, or sources of information

Possible Examples

  • Uses a magnetic wand to figure out which objects on a table it will lift up.
  • Uses a magnifying glass to observe a caterpillar closely, and describes its pattern of colors and number of legs.
  • Places a variety of objects in water to see which will float and which will sink.
  • Uses a communication device to learn about the new pet guinea pig.

Source: California Department of Education. 2015.

Integrating Earlier

Carries out multi-step investigations, using a variety of strategies, tools, or sources of information

Possible Examples

  • Examines images from informational books or a computer to learn about the habitats of different animals.
  • Looks through a prism held up to the light, directing its motion until a rainbow of colors appears on the wall.
  • Sets up a project, with an adult, that involves investigating the growth of lima bean plants with different amounts of water, and documents their growth.

What would your example be?

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