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Initiative Vs. Guilt – Stage 3

March 21st, 2012 by Miss Kristin


From stuffed animal giraffes named “Camel” to pretending to be a green, slimy monster covered in pink polka-dots, our kids come up with the cutest and silliest things on a day to day basis!  Their imaginations are raring to go especially as they enter into their third stage of development called Initiative Vs. Guilt.

According to Erik Erikson (a pioneer in child psychology), a child will go through a third stage of development called Initiative vs. Guilt between the ages of 3 and 5. In this stage of growth, a child will start to explore building social relationships. This is such an exciting time!  We will start to see kids pairing off and creating best friends with other students. I have friend that I made back in those days and we are still friends 23 years later!  Along with building friendships with other students, we will start to see children using their imagination by acting it out loud.  There has been a ton of research to show us kids use their imagination prior to this stage in life, but around this age is when they become more verbally confident and let their imagination come to life right in front of our eyes. We will see anything from princesses to school teachers to playing house to having make believe friends…and it is so cute to watch!

What can we do to help develop and support this stage in life?

    • We can ask questions that promote a deeper explanation of what they are imagining. ie:  ask different “characters” names, what they are wearing, and what they are doing, etc!
    • We can give them an opportunity to use their imagination by providing them with dress up clothes. ie: costumes, face paint, stuffed animals, mom & dad’s old clothes, recycled art supplies, story telling, make believe play house (made out of a cardboard box even!).
    • We can take 15 minutes to play along.  One of the best ways to validate your child’s imagination is to participate in the world they create.

Do you have any ideas to add?  We would love to hear what your kids are up to in their different worlds of imagination and how you interact with them. If you are looking for a fun outing with your kids, there is a place called Imagination Avenue that has built their business on the idea of allowing children to imagine. Check out their website (below) and look for them on Groupon.


Posted by Miss Kristin

Bio: My name is Kristin, but most here at SLC call me Miss Kristin :) I have been working at Scottsdale Learning Centers since 2007 and LOVE it. It is such a blessing to be a part of the amazing SLC team in the front office and as a pre-k teacher in Room 11! When I'm not at SLC I volunteer as a leader for junior high girls at my church (I am crazy...I know), and needless to say, I have a passion for kids!

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