DEVELOPMENT DURING THE PRESCHOOL YEARS
The child’s physical changes involve a transition from the plumpness of babyhood to the learner and more muscular body of a toddler. This is exciting time for a baby. 1-year-old begins to walk and talk. These skills, combined with a will of his or her own and a sense of independence, produce a determined explorer. Even though 1-year-old does not have a large vocabulary, he/she develops an increasing ability to understand language. This so-called passive language lays the groundwork for virtual explosion of language that occurs between ages 2 and 3. The average 18-month-old probably uses only about 10 words, but within a year he or she has a significant vocabulary and can speak in simple sentences. A child of this age is constantly exploring, by touching, holding, climbing, and mouthing.
At 2 years most children begin to communicate verbally. At some point after reaching 2 years, most children can tell you their name and the names of common objects. They can speak in three- to four-word sentences and even carry on brief conversations. Two-year-olds are most famous for negative behavior. Temper tantrums are common. Most 2-year-olds do not actively play with other children. Rather, they enjoy playing side by side with children their age. Two-year-old child is a great imitator. If you rake the lawn, 2-year-old may want to follow behind with a toy rake.
Three-year-old is more coordinated than he/she was at age 2. By age 3, most children can climb stairs with alternating feet, although most cannot descend in the same manner until age 4. A 3-year-old also can stand on one foot. Three-year-old’s vocabulary and pronunciation continue to expand. He/She can tell you his/her age and sex, and imitate simple drawings.
A child of 4 speaks well enough for strangers to understand him/her, and sentences become increasingly complex. The imagination of a child this age is vivid, and the line between what is real and what is imaginary often becomes indistinct. Some children at this age develop fears. Common fears of the 4-year-old include the fear of death, animals, and the dark.
A child of 5 is generally able to hop on one foot and even skip, can accurately copy figures, and continues to develop language skills. Children this age have the coordination required to write, and many have learned to do so. A 5-year-old is a social person. Unlike the younger child, when given a choice between spending time with his or her parents or friend, a 5-year-old child will almost invariably choose the friend.
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