Language is the principal tool for establishing and maintaining relationships with adults and other children. Children’s desire to communicate their thoughts, ideas, needs and feelings with others motivates them to develop language. Learning to understand and use words is complex.

Language development begins at birth, but many children do not receive the ongoing experiences that support this learning. Strong language skills are essential for children’s success in school and life. Oral language, including grammar, the ability to define words, and listening comprehension, helps provide the foundation and is an ongoing support for literacy.

Teachers are very important in helping children develop a strong foundation in language. The opportunities children have for sociodramatic play and the level of that play affects children’s language development. Higher levels of play allow for increased language and more complex language structures.

Teaching Strategies GOLD, Teaching Strategies. 2010

Language development objectives

  1. Listens to and understands increasingly complex language
  2. Uses language to express thoughts and needs
  3. Uses appropriate conversational and other communication skills

Typical language development

Language skills change rapidly in infants, toddlers and children. It can be difficult to know what to expect, and in what order. These resources and websites provide you with milestones of normal language development.

How to facilitate development of language skills

Children use language to think and solve problems. When you talk and play with your child, you support his/her language development.