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sequencing. The process of ordering real-life
objects from shortest to tallest or tallest to
shortest. (23)
seriation. The ability to arrange items in an
increasing or decreasing order based on
weight, volume, or size. (8)
serve and return. Back-and-forth interactions
between children and caregivers that involve
an infant reaching out for interaction and the
caregiver responding appropriately. (29)
set. Two or more objects that are alike in some
way and, therefore, belong together. (23)
sexism. Any action, attitude, or outlook used to
judge a person based only on the sex of that
person. (20)
sexual abuse. Forcing a child to observe or
engage in sexual activities with an adult.
Rape, incest, pornography, fondling, and
indecent exposure are all forms of this. (11)
shape. The outline of an object. (23)
single-answer questions. Questions requiring
few decision-making skills and most often
answered with yes or no. Also referred to as
closed-ended questions. (24)
skywriting. Demonstrating the correct way to
make the letter by writing it in the air. (22)
social comparison. A process in which people
defi ne themselves in terms of the qualities,
skills, and attributes they see in others. (8)
social-emotional development. Growth in the
two related areas of social and emotional
skills. Social development involves learning
to relate to others. Emotional development
involves refi ning feelings and expressions of
feelings. (4)
social studies. Subjects that help children learn
about themselves as well as other people. (25)
socio-dramatic play. Social play in which
several children play together as they
imitate others. (21)
solitary play. A type of play in which children
play by themselves. Also called independent
play. (21)
sorting. The process of physically separating
objects based on unique features. (23)
spatial relationships. The position of people and
objects in space relative to each other. (23)
specifi c task assessment. Giving children set
activities to determine skill and/or needs. (23)
spectator toys. Toys requiring little action on the
child’s part. (10)
speech skills. The ability to speak clearly. (27)
spice painting. Art activity in which children
spread glue on a piece of paper, and then
shake spices onto the paper. (19)
spina bifi da. A condition in which the bones of
the spine fail to grow together, resulting in
paralysis. (31)
spiral curriculum. A curriculum based on the
concept that as children grow, their circle of
interests becomes larger. (18)
staff room. Room in a child care center provided
for staff to spend work-related time away
from the classroom. (9)
standard precautions. Federal laws passed
to protect staff and others from accidental
exposure to bloodborne pathogens, such as
HIV or Hepatitis B. (13)
stationary equipment. Playground equipment
that is permanently installed for stability, such
as jungle gyms, slides, and tree houses. (9)
statute. A formal document drawn up by elected
offi cials. (11)
storybooks. Books that contain pictures but have
more complex plots than picture books. (20)
storytelling. An important task for early
childhood teachers that involves reciting a
story or reading from a book. (20)
stranger anxiety. Fear of strangers, which infants
begin to experience between seven and nine
months of age. (29)
stress. The body’s reaction to physical or
emotional factors, often taking the form of
tension. (15)
string painting. A painting activity in which
pieces of heavy yarn or string are dipped in
paint and slid across paper. (19)
stunted. Hindered or delayed. (29)
stuttering. Speech disorder that is often
characterized by repetition, hesitation, and
prolongation. (7)
subterranean. Underground. (24)
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