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1 Infant/Toddler Language Development Language Development and Older Infants

2 Learning Objectives Participants will be able to: Explain how older infants understand the meaning of many words (receptive language) before they can say them. Demonstrate how older toddlers progress from speaking single words, to stringing two words together, to multi-word sentences.

3 Learning Objectives (continued) Participants will be able to: Discuss how older infants construct their spoken language through imitation and through trial and error. Examine how the care teacher supports the language of older toddlers by conversing naturally with them, responding to their conversational overtures and providing play opportunities that encourage conversations.

4 Receptive Language At 18 months, children understand one-step requests that have to do with the current situation.

5 Receptive Language At 36 months, children demonstrate understanding of the meaning of others’ comments, questions, requests, or stories.

6 Language Systems Phonology refers to sound patterns. Semantics refers to the meaning of words. Syntax refers to the grammatical rules by which words are combined. Pragmatics refers to the social rules of language.

7 Language Systems Activity In your group, select one person to be a recorder and one to be a reporter. Provide two examples of how you support children’s development in one of the following language systems:  Phonology  Semantics  Syntax  Pragmatics

8 Stages of Language Communication One-word Stage: By sixteen months, most children are using language, one word at a time. Two-word Stage: The transition to the two-word stage occurs gradually, between the ages of eighteen and thirty months. Multi-word Stage (Sentences): Between the ages of two and four years, children begin to form grammatically correct sentences, although their rule system is not yet complete.


10 Reflective Activity (in Dyads) With a partner, review and discuss Handout #34 (Developmental Milestones), and Handout #35 (Things to Watch for with Older Infants). As you discuss with your partner, think of a child in your care. Do you see some of the developmental milestones? Do you have any concerns about a particular child’s language development? Why? How can you share this information with families?

11 Child-Directed Talk When adults speak to young children, they speak in a different manner from that used when they speak to another adult. They adapt their language so it is easier to understand. These speech adjustments, which seem to occur automatically to help adults talk with young children, are made by adults in almost every language.

12 Expressive Language At around 18 months, children say a few words and use conventional gestures to tell others about their needs, wants, and interests.  How were care teachers expanding children’s language?  What did you notice about how children communicated their needs?

13 Expressive Language At around 36 months, children communicate in a way that is understandable to most adults who speak the same language. Children combine words into simple sentences and demonstrate the ability to follow grammatical rules of the home language.  What can you do support children’s language development at this stage?

14 Ways to Encourage Language In groups, discuss and review a section of the handout on “Ways to Encourage Language”. Discuss how you practice this in your program. Choose a way to present this to the rest of the group (e.g., role play, demonstration, etc.)

15 Language Poster Each group will make a poster for family members, substitutes, and volunteers to read, to help them identify the language experiences taking place in your program.

16 Summary Care teachers have an important role to play in helping children develop strong language skills. Care teachers do this through enjoyable and respectful communication exchanges, and rich language experiences. This is a time of rapid language growth. Children’s language moves from one- word utterances to complex sentences.

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