Knowledge of basic concepts is an essential component of language development. Basic concepts are the terms that describe a position, time, equality, quantity, or comparison. We often use these terms at home when giving children directions and knowledge and use of these terms is also extremely common and therefore essential knowledge in a mainstream school setting.
Here is a list of the general development of these concepts at each age.
1 – 2 years
At this age children are able to follows simple spatial directions including in, under and on and are able to also use two or three of these concepts. They are also able to use simple directional terms, such as up and down. They should also understand the concept of another.
2 – 3 years
Children at this age are able to distinguish between in and under as well as the difference between one and many. They understand the numeric concepts 1 and 2.They should also understand the size concepts big compared to little or small. They should understand the spatial concepts in, off, on, under, out of, together and away from. Children at this age also begin to understand time concepts such as soon, later, wait. They should understand grouping concepts and be able to distinguish things that are the same versus those that are different within a group of objects. They also begin to use colour and size concepts as adjectives within their speech.
3 – 4 years
Between the age of 3 and four children understand the concepts empty and a lot. They understand spatial concepts such as nest to, beside and between and will use spacial concepts such as behind, in front, around. They also understand equality directions such as identifying 2 things that are the same or that match as well as the concept of both. At this age they should be able to identify most of the basic colours.
4 – 5 years
By this age children should understands comparative and superlative adjectives, such as big, bigger, and biggest. They should understand time concepts such as yesterday, today, tomorrow, first, then, next, days of the week, last week and next week. They can understand more complex concepts such as nearest, thin, whole through as well as identify positional concepts first, middle, last.
5 – 6 years
At this age children are able to match opposite concepts like big and little or over and under. They identify their left from right and should understand numeric concepts up to 20. They can also explain to you how things are the same or different when asked. At this age children will be using a wide variety of learned concepts within their speech including comparative adjectives, such as loud and louder for describing, adverb concepts such as backward and forward, prepositions such as through, nearest, corner, middle. They will also use the concepts yesterday and tomorrow and first, second, third within their conversational speech.
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