In the pre-operative period of cognitive development , children acquire the ability to internally represent the world around them, through expression: language and mental images . Also, in the final course of this stage, they may begin to develop the ability to see the world from other people’s perspectives.
Characteristics of the pre-operative period
According to the Piagetian theory of knowledge, language is one of the functions that develops in a special way in the pre-operative period (from 2 to 6 years) and that gives rise to the symbolic function . Children are able to symbolically represent things, places, and events through speech, body language, and art. Thanks to the fact that the child accesses the symbolic function, he can access language.
In the early years of the pre-operative period, children attribute moods and consciousness to everything around them ; being “animism” one of the main characteristics of this period. An example of this may be that such an object that they have hit themselves with is bad because it made them cry.
In the final years of this stage, children can carry out overt behaviors, such as mentally representing events and objects (the semiotic function), participating in symbolic games, counting, adding and subtracting; these are considered internalized behaviors
Through delayed imitation, the child can learn what the conventional codes necessary for the sender and receiver to capture the message mean.
Language also undergoes an evolution, since first there is a development of a more gestural language that is later associated with behaviors until it reaches shared language , that is, the use of a sign that allows communication , thus increasing the knowledge.
Stages of language in the pre-operative period
Make sentences: From the age of two, children begin to form sentences; they constantly produce sentences they haven’t heard before, creating rather than imitating. They can combine two words together to make simple phrases , like “Daddy here,” or they can make sentences with multiple words. Although they are not yet fluent in the language and their phonetics are not clear yet, they can be understood and put together sentences, sometimes in reverse order or with crossed words. They can also start using simple articles and prepositions.
Language comprehension : At three years of age, children already have a significant understanding of the rules of a language and master its grammar. They understand most of what they hear, talk, have a broader vocabulary, and begin to master verbs and pronouns correctly.
Difficulty understanding abstract language: Young children do not yet understand the meaning of abstract terms, nor do they understand ironies or metaphors.
Understanding of time: When they are young, up to about 4 years old, some children do not correctly associate terms related to time: past, present and future. They tend to confuse yesterday with tomorrow and still do not use the past as part of the grammatical tense. From the age of 5 they begin to develop their sense of time and can distinguish and express the relationships between the past and the future.
How to help language development in the pre-operative period?
We can help our child’s language development , interacting with him and enriching his vocabulary. It is very important that from a young age we communicate with them and express ourselves with the correct words; for example, using the word auto instead of “tutu.”
Research has shown that early language stimulation helps a child’s cognitive development . According to studies, children who are verbally stimulated have twice the vocabulary and language skills more complex than other children. Language-based interactions have also been shown to increase a child’s intellectual ability.
Note: See links to get a clearer idea of J. Piaget’s cognitive theory.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.