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Child Care Glossary

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Harm or maltreatment inflicted on a person through physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual means.


Revision of buildings, curbs, and other physical structures to allow easy movement and admittance by a person with a disability.


A psychological bond between adult and child.


Easy to approach, enter, or operate, participate in or use safely and independently by a person with a disability.

Acting-out Behaviors

Responses that typically occur in children as a result of their needs not being met. These behaviors may also occur as a result of a child not being able to communicate their wants or needs. May be classified as a temper tantrum.


Parents (or families), organizations or volunteers working on behalf of the rights and interests of others (such as children or people with disabilities). Parents are the best advocates for their children.


The degree to which the price of child care is a realistic family expense. High-quality child care may be available, but it may not be affordable for a family with a low or moderate income.

Age Groupings
  • Infant - a child from birth to 12 months in age
  • Toddler - a child from 13 to 36 months in age
  • Preschooler - a child between the ages of 3 and 5
  • School-age - A child in first grade, or the time he/she enters school, through 15 years of age. Programs for school-age children occur after the school day ends.
  • Mixed ages - placing children who are at least one year apart in age into the same child care group

Typically an entry-level position in the child care field. Assists a teacher in classroom activities.

Anti-social Behavior

Actions opposite of socially appropriate or acceptable behavior.


Determining a child’s developmental strengths and weaknesses. Assessment are reviewed based upon observation of the child and/or the administering one or more standardized tests. Areas of assessment include:

  • Motor Skills
  • Language Skills
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
  • Social or Emotional Skills
  • Self-Help Skills
Attachment Disorder

An inability to develop significant emotional connections with other people.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

A condition present in some young children with such symptoms as not being able to control one’s behavior and/ or pay attention.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

A child with ADHD displays the characteristics of ADD, but includes gross motor over-activity. Examples include: excessive running, talking, restlessness, or manipulation of objects.

Auditory Discrimination

Understanding the differences between speech sounds and being able to use those sounds correctly.