Kids don’t learn to talk simply by waiting for their synapses to form and axons to myelinate. Just like each of the sensory and motor skills on which it depends, language development is also critically shaped by experience.
The scientists, based at King's College London, and Brown University, Rhode Island, studied 108 children with normal brain development between the ages of one and six. They have gained surprising new insights into how brain anatomy influences language acquisition in young children.
Their study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that the explosion of language acquisition that typically occurs in children between 2 and 4 years old is not reflected in substantial changes in brain asymmetry.
That finding, the researchers say, underscores the importance of environment during this critical period for language. They predict that any environmental influences on brain development will be strongest in infancy. The research findings explain why immersing children in a bilingual environment before the age of four gives them the best chance of becoming fluent in both languages.
Babies have a vocabulary of up to 50 words at 12 months but by the age of six this has expanded to about 5,000 words.
Language skills are sharpest early on but grow throughout life. Recognition of speech begins at birth through ages 6 or 7; vocabulary starts growing during the second year and continues through adulthood.
How I think @ 41 months
I have begun to understand the concept of past tense. To make sure that I understand that the event is over, talk it over with me as soon as possible using appropriate language. I will pick it up really soon, especially with your emphasis on it.
Motor Development: Gross Motor Skills
• I am developing excellent eye-hand coordination in bouncing and catching a large ball
• My rhythm and timing skills are also developing nicely as bouncing a ball requires good timing ability
Motor Development: Fine Motor Skills
• I can manage large buttons
• I can dress myself with supervision
• I can string 1/2 inch beads
• I can use a fork
Language and Thinking Development
• Between 41 and 46 months, I will develop the ability to use the past tense when describing actions
• I am eager to learn words for new things
• I love to mimic everyone around me – speaking phrases I hear from people around me
Social and Emotional Development
• I love to use my imagination, and my favorite is to pretend being like my mom and dad
• I have a decrease in separation anxiety for short periods of time
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.