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Study of the Mother-Child Program

Part One: I The Stages Of Development Of The Child

1.1 Physical And Motor Development
1.2 Development of the Personality
1.3 Emotional And Social Development
1.4 Cognitive Development
1.5 Development of Language

A child’s process of development comprises periods of rapid growth, accompanied by changes and disturbances, and periods of relative calm during which changes occur in a more gradual manner (Bee and Mitchell, 1986). The authors use the term transition to refer to the most rapid periods of change, and the term consolidation to designate periods where changes occur more gradually.

In the field of child development, there are several theories and also a number of differences among the theories. However, some general principles can be identified:

First principle: the child’s process of development from 0 to 6 years of age may be divided into successive periods, which follow the same chronological order.

Second principle: the process of development is divided into three major stages:

1. from 0 to 18 months

2. from 18 to 24 months

3. from 2 to 6 years.

Third principle: Each of these three stages is characterized by sub-periods of transition and of consolidation.

Fourth principle: The normal development of the child gives rise to many individual differences. Studies emphasize three major types of explanations for these differences:

1. genetic 2. environmental 3. gender-related.


1.1 Physical And Motor Development

Two major stages of physical and motor development are observed in children between zero and six years of age. The first stage is between zero and 3˝ to 4 years of age, and the second is between 4 and 6 years of age. Between zero and 3˝ to 4 years of age, development is more rapid, while from the age of 3˝ to 4 years, development is slower but progresses constantly.

Most authors identify a number of environmental factors as significant determinants of physical and motor growth. These factors are: status at birth, nutrition, the state of health, living conditions and transcultural factors. These factors may have a positive or negative influence on the physical growth of the child.

Bélanger et al. (1979) stress the following point:

There is a broad range of normal development in this area, but each child will go through the same fundamental stages.

Physical Growth

According to Bee and Mitchell (1986):

Growth imposes limits on the capacities of the child.

The limits imposed by physical growth affect the child’s experience, and these experiences in turn will influence the course of the child’s cognitive and social development.

The way in which others perceive us is also a factor that influences physical development.

Physical development may affect the child’s perception of himself or herself.

In this field, Bee and Mitchell report the results of a number of studies, and in particular those of Tanner (1970), Walker (1962), Sheldm (1940), Smith (1978), Teeple (1978), Faust (1977), and Stechler and Halton (1982).

On the basis of their findings, these authors have identified major aspects of physical growth.. These are of two kinds: external (height and morphology) and internal (skeleton, muscles, nervous system and hormones). These different aspects are examined in more detail below.

External Aspects of Physical Growth


Increase in height is not uniform between 0 and 6 years of age, but occurs in two stages. In the first stage, from birth to 3 years, growth is rapid and girls are slightly smaller than boys. During the second stage, between 3 and 6 years (this stage continues until 11 years of age), the growth rate is less rapid, but constant. Girls continue to be slightly smaller than boys.


The head of the newborn is proportionally much larger than that of children or adults. The head accounts for 25% of height at birth, 20% at the age of two years, and only 10% in the adult (Smith, 1978).

Internal Aspects of Physical Growth

Skeleton and muscles

The structure of the body is determined by the skeleton, which is not entirely complete at birth. The skeleton thus continues to develop after birth. The bones of the hand and wrist, for example, will not be completely formed until adolescence, and it is only at the age of two years that the fontanelles (bones of the cranium) become ossified.

In the child, the development of bones, arms and legs is the most evident. However, their growth will only be completed in adolescence. The process of ossification is very slow for some parts of the body, in particular the legs, and this gives rise to an important fact: time is required before the child is able to sit up and walk. It is this slow process that enables the baby to adopt certain positions, such as putting its feet in its mouth or behind its head.

Changes are also observed in the muscles, which change in length and thickness. There is continual growth of the muscles throughout childhood, and, although differences are also observable in this area, boys are generally stronger than girls.

Nervous system

The nervous system is not complete at the time of birth. The most developed part is the mesencephalon, located at the base of the cranium. The mesencephalon is responsible for the basic innate functions of attention, habituation, sleep, waking and elimination.

The least developed part of the nervous system is the cerebral cortex , which controls so-called higher functions such as perception, movement and aspects of thought and language. The cortex is present at birth, but the cells composing it are not interconnected. The interconnection process is partly achieved by the age of 6 months, but is only fully completed at the age of 2 years.


During the two first years of life the hormone thyroxin is produced in large quantities. This coincides with rapid growth in the young child’s height and body mass.

From birth to 3 years of age

Let us begin with reflex patterns of behaviour. Some so-called "primitive" reflexes are present at birth. Bélanger et al. (1979) indicate in this regard:

The presence or absence of reflexes serves as a guide in the assessment of neurological development, because there is a fixed timetable that governs the appearance or disappearance of most reflexes.

This is confirmed by most studies in the field. The reflexes present at birth will disappear during the first year of life. The data given below are taken from a study by Bee and Mitchell (1986).

Behaviour pattern Age of disappearance
Child turns head, opens mouth, begins sucking movements. 9 months
Child stretches out legs, arms and fingers, arches back, throws head back. 3 months
Child closes fist so vigorously that one can lift the child up and place him or her in a standing position when the two fists are closed on a stick. 2 to 3 months
Behaviour pattern Age of disappearance
Child performs well-coordinated swimming movements. 6 months
Child turns head to side, and adopts "fencer" posture, extends arms and legs on his or her favourite side and bends the opposite members. 2 to 3 months
Child fans out toes, with foot turned inwards.. 2 to 9 months
Child makes movements of initiating a step which resemble well-coordinated walking. 4 to 8 weeks
Child draws foot back. 1 month

Motor development in the child proceeds by successive stages, in a precise chronological order.

Normal physical and motor development proceeds in accordance with a predetermined order... Each new activity mastered by a baby prepares that baby to undertake the next activity, in the predetermined order of appearance of motor abilities (Bélanger et al., 1979).

The data given below are taken from Bélanger et al (1979).

Age (months) Motor development
1 Raises head for a few seconds.
2 Raises head when placed on belly (lifts chin up).
3 Kicks vigorously..
4 Raises head and chest when placed on stomach.
5 Holds head up straight, without inertia.
6 Pushes self up on wrists.
7 Rolls over from stomach to back.
8 Sits without support.
9 Rolls over from head to foot on floor.
10 Stands when supported.
11 Gets up in order to stand.
12 Walks or moves sideways in playpen.
13 Remains standing without support.
14 Walks without assistance.
15 Crawls up stairs.
16 Pushes a doll carriage, a wooden horse, etc.
17 Picks up a toy on the floor without falling..
18 Crawls onto a chair.
19 Crawls up and down stairs.
20 Jumps.
21 Runs.
22 Walks up stairs.
23 Sits down at table.
24 Walks up and down stairs.

Bee and Mitchell (1986) indicate two general tendencies in motor development during the first years of life.

First tendency: skills develop from the head to the lower limbs (caudal-cephalic development).

Second tendency: skills develop from the centre of the body towards the inner part of the body (proximal and distal development).

This theory confirms what has been said previously.

Several studies, including that of Dennis (1960), indicate that if the environment does not provide opportunities for the various sequences of development, delays in development may be observed in the child. Dennis’s study, which was carried out among Iranian children in an orphanage, is extensively quoted in studies on the subject. At the age of 36 months, a child will normally have grown by 10 cm over the last year.

Between three and six years of age

Development between 3 and 6 years of age is not as rapid as during the previous period. Growth of the encephalon is almost completed, and, according to Bee and Mitchell (1986), no significant motor skills appear during this period.

The height of the child continues to increase at a rate of 5 to 8 cm per year until the child reaches the growth spurt characterizing puberty. The child will no longer have the little pot belly that previously characterized him or her. The trunk, arms and legs grow longer. The proportions of the body progressively become closer to those of the adult (Bélanger et al.,(1979). The skeleton and the nervous and muscular systems are undergoing full maturation. Ossification speeds up, and the bones become harder. All the first teeth come in, and the child is able to chew anything (Bélanger et al.,1979).

According to the literature, nutrition has a significant influence on growth, and on the thickness and shape of bones. It has been observed that negligence in the area of nutrition affects the development of bones and the circumference of the head. Dental problems are also more frequent among poorly nourished children.

The following point is emphasized:

Small stature may reflect a family tendency. Nevertheless, a stoppage of growth may be associated with a disease, dysfunction of the pituitary gland, or with conditions of emotional deprivation.

Here again, individual differences are observed, but, at this age, boys are usually stronger and more developed than girls. Coordination, in particular the coordination of fine motor skills, improves at this time.


1.2 Development of the Personality

The concept of self is a key concept, which provides a focus for a great number of theories concerning the development of the ego and of the personality. There are four theories on the origins of the personality. Each of these theories attempts to explain the causes of individual differences.

1. the theory of temperament

2. the psychoanalytic theory

3. the learning theory

4. the theory of cognitive development.

1. According to the theory of temperament (as stated in particular by Thomas and Chess (1977), Buss and Plomin (1975), and Rothbart and Derryborry (1981)), the fundamental tendencies of behaviour are hereditary and persist throughout the individual’s lifetime.

2. According to psychoanalytic theory (as stated by Freud and Erikson), a central role is played by the interaction between the needs and impulses of children and by the responses of the individuals in the child’s immediate environment. Research work largely tends to confirm the importance of primary attachments. The studies commonly cited in this field are those of Sroufe (1978), Waters, Wippman and Sroufe (1979), and Arend, Gove and Sroufe (1979). These authors have shown that children who have weak attachments during the first year of their life subsequently have difficulty in establishing relationships with their peers. The initial relationship with the person who takes care of the child (usually the mother) is extremely important, as is the period around the age of 4 or 5 when the Oedipus complex appears.

3. The theory of social learning as enunciated in particular by Sears, Maccroby and Levin (1957), Patterson (1975) and Ladd (1981), explains differences in personality in terms of the fundamental principles of learning. The concept of partial reinforcement program makes it possible to explain the effects on children of the discipline imposed by their parents, or the fact, for example, that children develop aggressive behaviour and assimilate sexual stereotypes through observing models on television (Bee and Mitchell, 1986).

4. The theory based on cognitive development regards the concept of the self as a schema through which new information is assimilated. When the concept of self has been well established, it becomes an agent of mediation that affects the child’s selection of activities, behaviours and feelings (Bee and Mitchell, 1986).

Bee and Mitchell summarize their hypothesis as follows:

Temperament serves as a basis through which the personality develops. It directly affects behaviour and also influences the responses of others to the child. These two phenomena affect the child’s concept of self, and this allows consolidation of the mode of behaviour that is peculiar to the child.

Between zero and eighteen months

In the first months of life, the "existential ego" develops. According to Lervis and Brooks (1978), Lervis and Brooksbunn (1979) and Lervis (1981), this is the period during which the child becomes aware of the fact that he or she is different from others. This awareness of self is well established by the age of 18 months (Bee and Mitchell, 1986).

This is the first stage in the development of the ego and of the personality. This period coincides with Freud’s oral stage and with Erikson’s stage of fundamental trust or mistrust. During this period, the mother-child relationship makes an important contribution to the baby’s feeling of trust. The quality of the relationship is more important than its quantity (Bélanger et a.l, 1979).

Between eighteen months and six years

The period between 18 and 24 months of age marks the beginning of the development of what Lervis and Brooks have called the "differential ego". According to these authors, the child begins at this time to compare himself or herself to other persons, on the basis of certain characteristics such as height, age and sex.

Between the ages of 18 months and six years the "the concept of gender" is used to designate another aspect in regard to which children will define themselves.

These periods coincide with Freud’s concepts of the anal and phallic stages (pregenital phase), and with Erikson’s concepts of autonomy, shame, doubt and initiative in opposition to guilt.

According to Freud, between 18 months and 3 years, the way in which toilet training is carried out will determine whether or not the child can move beyond this stage (Bee and Mitchell, 1986). Two factors may contribute to the development of an "anal personality": the concern for cleanliness, and the belief that feces are gifts to a parent. In the first case, the personality that develops may be obsessed by cleanliness, pedantic, and obsessively precise. In the second case, the individual may become provocatively dirty, greedy and obsessively materialistic (Bélanger et al., 1979).

According to Erikson, during this period a time of so called "negativism" in the 2 year-old child is normal. During this period, children detach themselves from their mother in order to assert themselves.

According to Freud, the child of preschool age (3 or 4 years of age) is fascinated by the anatomical differences between boys and girls and between adults and children. At this age, children want to know how babies are made and how the sex act is performed. Freud also situates the Oedipus complex, the castration complex and the Electra complex in this period.

According to Erikson, the child of preschool age continues to try to acquire and preserve a feeling of independence that first emerged during the period of negativism.

According to Bélanger et al., Erikson’s theory maintains that the major developmental crisis of the preschool period is centred on the development of a sense of initiative or guilt. Successful resolution of this conflict enables the child to undertake, plan and carry out activities.

During this period, the child identifies with adult models and adopts the behaviour patterns appropriate for his or her sex. There are a number of theories in this respect. However, all agree that the personality of children is affected by the type of upbringing to which they are exposed. Baumind has identified four types of parental attitudes that foster the development of certain personality traits: authoritarian, tolerant, directive and harmonious (Bélanger et al., 1979).


1.3 Emotional And Social Development

In the study of emotional and social development, the key concept is that of "attachment". Much research has been done in this area, and the studies of Bowlby (1969, 1973 and 1980) and of Ainsworth (1964, 1969 and 1978) are widely quoted.

Bowlby defined the concept of attachment in the following terms:

A significant affective and emotional tie between two individuals. The child or adult attached to another person uses that person as a "security blanket", which he or she uses to explore the environment, and to which he or she turns in order to seek comfort in cases of stress or hardship (Bee and Mitchell, 1986).

These authors bring out an important distinction between the attachment process as such and the manifestations of attachment behaviour patterns. The first process establishes the fundamental relationship between two persons. The second represents the manner in which this relationship is expressed through observable behaviour patterns. According to the authors, this distinction acquires its full importance specifically in the case of the baby’s attachments, of the attachment behaviours towards the parents, and the attachment of parents towards the child.

Consequently, we shall first present the major characteristics of the process of attachment of parents to the child, secondly those of the attachment of the child to its parents, and thirdly the development of social relationships among children.

The Process of Attachment of Parents to the Child

The process of attachment of parents to the child has been divided into two phases. The first phase involves the formation of the initial bond, while the second involves the development of attachment behaviours.

First phase: formation of the initial bond

The first stage in the process of attachment of the parents (mother and father) is called the "initial bonding". This is the bond that develops at birth or shortly thereafter (Bélanger et al.).

The authors summarize their position by stating that the initial bond is stronger if the parents have contact immediately after the birth.

Second phase: development of attachment behaviours

The first months of the child’s life see the realization of the second stage in the process of the parents’ attachment to their child. This is the "growth of the attachment", which would depend upon repetition of the attachment behaviours. Bee and Mitchell summarize the situation as follows:

... An interactive system of attachment behaviours develops between the child and the child’s parents. The child expresses a desire by crying or smiling... For their part, the parents enter into this "dance" for two by drawing near to the baby when the baby cries or babbles, taking it in their arms... The critical factor in the formation of a genuine attachment seems to be the possibility of developing reciprocity, namely of performing this "dance" until the partners can follow one another.

The Process of Attachment of the Child to his or her Parents

Ainsworth and et al. (1978) have divided this process into four phases.

Phase 1: initial pre-attachment

Phase 2: emergence of the bond

Phase 3: the bond as such

Phase 4: multiple bonds. [The data presented here are from Bee and Mitchell ( 1986).]

Initial pre-attachment between zero and three months of age

During the first three or four months of life, the child is not "bonded" to any particular person. This period is called the initial pre-attachment phase, and is associated with the relative inability of the child to distinguish one person from another (since visual discrimination has not been well established before the age of about 3 months). The child at this age does not show any preference for one individual over another.

Between 3 and 6 months: emergence of the bond

The child between 3 and 6 months of age begins to exhibit specific attachment behaviours. The child is now able to distinguish the individuals familiar to him or her, and begins to smile to them, to recognize them. However, the child of this age has not yet become "attached" to a single individual.

From around 6 or 7 months to approximately 2 years: the attachment strictly speaking

Around the age of 6 or 7 months, there is a single individual to whom the baby will direct its attachment behaviours. This is the first significant change.

The second change is that the baby of this age is capable of moving about on all fours and drawing near to the person who is taking care of him or her and to whom the attachment is expressed. This person becomes, for the child, a "place of safety". This period also sees the manifestation of "resistance to separation from the preferred person" and "fear of strangers".

Around the age of 2 to 3 years: multiple attachments

Around the age of 2 or 3 years, most children are "attached" to more than one person among those in their immediate environment (father, grandparents, close relations or child care staff). The attachment behaviours exhibited towards these individuals are the same as those previously exhibited towards a single individual. These individuals become, for the child, a "place of safety" to which the child may turn to obtain comfort when distressed. However, the child will continue to turn towards his or her preferred adult, when this is possible. Around the age of four years, children in normal circumstances are able to leave the "preferred person" more easily.

Social Relationships Among Children

The third part of this chapter deals with social relationships among children. We shall take some time here to introduce the major stages in the development of social relationships among children, from early childhood to the age of six years. It should be pointed out that this type of relationship among children is an important part of their social development.

Early childhood [The data presented here are from Bee and Mitchell (1986). ]

Very early in life, the child is aware that there are other children. Also very early, around the age of 10 or 12 months, the child is able to play with other children.

... they touch, imitate one another and exchange smiles... they still prefer to play with toys, but they will play with other children if there are no toys.

Between 1˝ and 3 years

From this age and during this period, children demonstrate a capacity for genuine social interactions, without however developing attachments to other children. The quality of play interaction changes. According to Piaget, children move from parallel playing to cooperative playing. It can also be observed that, from the age of two years, children are capable of altruistic behaviour (helping another child, offering another child a toy or comforting him or her).

Around the age of 4 or 5 years

Children of this age are capable of creating "specific friendships"... We know that at the age of 4 or 5 years, children exhibit more positive, less negative behaviour patterns towards their friends than towards children who are not their friends (Masters et Furman, 1981). These friendships are unstable and are strongly associated with proximity and with common play interests (Berndt, 1981).

During these periods, and particularly around the age of 2 years, one may observe negative social behaviours of an aggressive or dominating nature. Physical aggression reaches its maximum around the age of 3 or 4 years . Verbal aggression is gradually substituted as the child gets older.


1.4 Cognitive Development

There is no one theory to explain cognitive development. For our purposes, we shall examine the theory of Piaget, which was designed as a theory of stages of development. According to Bee and Mitchell, Piaget’s theory can be examined in the light of the development of the child in six areas: permanence, differentiation, use of symbols, logic, reversibility and classification.

According to Piaget, three major stages of cognitive development may be observed. The first, from birth to about the age of 2 years, is called the "sensorimotor stage". Between the ages of 2 and 6, hence during the preschool period, the child goes through the "preparatory stage". The third period, between 6 and 11 years of age, sees the emergence of the "complete operational stage".

In the child between 0 and 6 years of age, there are two important stages: the sensorimotor and the preoperational.

Sensorimotor stage: from birth to approximately 2 years of age

To analyze the changes that characterize the sensorimotor stage, Piaget describes six sub-stages in the development of thought.

Bee and Mitchell summarize the sensorimotor stage as follows:

During the sensorimotor period, the child’s thinking relates to his or her immediate environment, but at the same time the child is developing skills that will be useful to him or her in the future.

Preparatory stage: from 2 to 7 years

The child moves to the preparatory stage of thought at the age of about 2 years, and emerges from this stage at 6 years of age. Bee and Mitchell summarize the preparatory stage as follows:

The preparatory period is a period of transition during which thinking becomes less egocentric and the ability to classify concepts and objects becomes increasingly efficient.


1.5 Development of Language

All children in all countries go through the same basic stages in acquiring language (Bélanger et al., 1979). There are also individual differences in this area. Different types of explanations have been de veloped to explain these differences. These are genetic explanations, environmental explanations, and explanations based on gender-related differences, although these differences are minor.

We have used the study conducted by Bélanger et al. (1979) to present the stages in the development of language. The authors establish a distinction between the understanding of language and verbal and preverbal language in children from birth to approximately 3 years of age. The following description of the different stages of development is based on information taken from Bélanger et al. (1979).

Understanding of language

Children learn to understand language before they are able to speak it. Eleanor and George Kaplan (1971) distinguish five stages in the development of this understanding:

1. Just a few minutes after birth, newborn babies can determine where sounds are coming from. They can also distinguish among sounds on the basis of frequency, intensity, duration and tempo.

2. Newborn children 2 weeks of age recognize the difference between the human voice and other sounds.

3. At about 2 months of age, babies perceive emotional indices. They try to escape from angry voices, and they smile and burble in reaction to friendly intonations. They are able to distinguish familiar from unfamiliar voices, and the voices of men from those of women.

4. At approximately 6 months of age, babies are sensitive to intonation and rhythm, and respond intelligently to sentences in a foreign language that are pronounced with a generally familiar tone.

5. Towards the end of the first year, babies can distinguish phenomena, or individual sounds, in their native language. They are able to differentiate between words that differ only in their initial sound (like good and hood).

Preverbal language

1. The following are the stages of language that precede the pronunciation of the first word (Lenneberg, 1967; Eisenson, Auer and Irwin, 1963):

2. Undifferentiated crying. The baby’s initial crying is a reflex reaction produced by the expiratory phase of breathing.

3. Differentiated crying. After the first month, the various articulations, intensities and frequencies of a baby’s cries enable the attentive observer to determine whether the baby is hungry, going to sleep, angry or feeling pain. The crying is becoming a more precise means of communication.

4. Burbling. At about 6 weeks of age, the random movements of the voice mechanisms produce simple sounds, called burbling. These piercing cries, gurglings and quavering sounds usually occur when the baby is happy and satisfied. The first sounds are vowels, and the first consonant is b. Burbling has been evoked before the fifteenth day using visual stimuli (Stechler, Bradford and Levy, 1965), but usually occurs later.

5. Babbling. Babbling brings into play a kind of "vocal gymnastics", which begins around the third or fourth month of life. The baby plays at repeating various simple combinations of vowels and consonants, such as "ma-ma-ma-ma", "da-da-da-da" or " bi-bi-bi-bi". Babies are more likely to babble when they are satisfied and alone. Deaf infants begin by babbling normally, but quickly become uninterested because they cannot hear themselves (Clifton, 1970). From Piaget’s point of view, babies initially babble for the pleasure of doing so (secondary circular feedback).

6. Lallation or imperfect imitation. During the second half of their first year, babies become aware of the sounds that surround them. They become quiet in order to listen when a noise ceases, they babble with excitement, and they repeat at random whatever they happen to hear. They also imitate the sounds that they themselves make.

7. Echolalia or the imitation of the sounds of others. Around the age of 9 or 10 months, babies consciously imitate the sounds of other persons, even when they do not understand these sounds. Since middle-class babies are more inclined to vocalize during this stage than babies from the working class (Rheingold, Gewirtz and Ross, 1959), it is likely that the vocalization of parents encourages that of their children. It is during stages 4, 5 and 6 that babies acquire their basic repertory of sounds. Once they can produce these sounds themselves and give them a meaning, they are ready to learn their language.

8. Expressive patter. In their second year of life, many children employ a series of outputs of sound that resemble sentences, with pauses, inflections and rhythms. However, the "words" in these sound outputs are in fact a meaningless babble. Speaking has not yet become communicative.

Verbal language

When they finally begin to say things that have meaning, children are still going through separate stages (Eisenson et al., 1963).

1. One-word sentence. Francis, who is 1 year of age, points to the door with his finger and says "outside". Depending on the situation, he may mean "I want to go out" or "Mama has left". The child’s single word thus expresses a complete thought.

2. Sentence consisting of several words. At about the age of 2, George puts together two or more words in order to make a complete sentence. When he sees his father put on his cardigan, he says: "Me, go". The first sentences of this type are combinations of nouns and verbs, without articles, prepositions or adjectives. This telegraphic language only contains words that communicate meaning.

3. Grammatically correct verbal statements. Children 3 years of age have an impressive mastery of language. They possess a vocabulary of some 900 words, generate sentences that include all parts of speech, and have a good understanding of grammatical principles. They are not concerned about exceptions to the rule. Their vocabulary and the complexity of their sentences increase rapidly and continually.

Language Between 3 and 6 years of Age

Between 3 and 4 years of age, children use "telegraphic sentences" consisting of three or four words which include only essential words. They ask a large number of questions, and they are capable of giving and following simple orders. They know the names for familiar realities, such as animals, parts of the body and important people. They use the plural and the past tense, and employ "I", "you" and "me" correctly. They have a vocabulary of between 900 and 1200 words.

Between 4 and 5 years of age, children’s sentences have 4 or 5 words on average. Children can now make use of such prepositions as "on", "under", "in" and "behind". They use more verbs than nouns, and they know and use a total of 1500 to 2000 words.

From 5 to 6 years of age, children begin to use sentences containing 6 to 8 words. They are able to define simple words, and know some antonyms. They use a larger number of conjunctions, prepositions and articles in their everyday language. They express themselves in a fairly grammatical way, although they still are unaware of exceptions to the rules. Their language becomes less egocentric and more socialized, and they have a vocabulary of between 2000 and 2500 words.

Between the ages of 6 and 7, the language of children becomes quite elaborate. The children now use compound, complex and grammatically correct constructions, using all parts of speech and a vocabulary of 3000 to 4000 words.