Sub-domain: Language

The Language sub-domain covers goals fifty-one through fifty-six of the Idaho Early Learning Guidelines. 

Using this guide

Scroll down to see the age group you are most interested in. Click on the goal to learn more about the goal's:

  • developmental growth
  • child indicators
  • caregiver strategies

There is an option to download the information at the end of each goal. When you click the link you will be brought to a new page where you can download the goal as a PDF.  

An adult and child laughing together

0 - 8 Months

Goal 51: Children use receptive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Respond to voices and environmental sounds.

Child Indicators: Moves in response to a voice. Responds to a caregiver’s voice and mouth. Responds differently to varied voices (angry versus friendly). May turn and look at new sounds. Responds to his/her name.

Caregiver Strategies: Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Read simple, colorful books to child. Describe environmental sounds. Use repetitive sounds to play with vocalization (ooh, la la la). Respond to child’s cooing and babbling. Imitate child’s sounds and encourage turn-taking. Produce non-speech sounds (raspberries and tongue clicks). Use child’s name when addressing him/her and in caregiving activities. Point and label objects, toys, and people in their natural setting. Introduce new words in the context of daily life activities by narrating what child sees, hears, smells, touches, and tastes.

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Goal 52: Children use expressive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Initiate sounds and facial expressions.

Child Indicators: Makes sounds to indicate pleasure, discomfort, wants, or pain. Begins to use basic turn-taking in communication. Imitates cooing and babbling. Experiments with sounds. Imitates facial expressions and reaching. Varies intonation.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations by interacting, allowing for wait time, and giving full attention. Respond to child’s crying and describe the intended message (hungry, tired, hurt). Use playful sounds in interactions with the child. Use descriptive talk during daily routines (changing diaper, feeding). Use animated expressions and language. Describe feelings (hungry, tired, wet).

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Goal 53: children demonstrate progression in grammar and syntax.

Developmental Growth: Initiate and respond to change and variety in sounds.

Child Indicators: Makes sounds to indicate pleasure, discomfort, wants, or pain.Varies intonation, volume, and plays with sounds.Strings together varied intonation patterns.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations by giving attention, smiling, or talking back.Use playful sounds in interactions with the child.Use descriptive talk during daily routines (changing diaper, feeding).Use animated expressions and language.Describe feelings (hungry, tired, wet).

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Goal 54: Children demonstrate comprehension and meaning in language.

Developmental Growth: Demonstrate awareness and attention to sounds and human voices

Child Indicators: Looks at familiar objects when named. Turns and looks at new sounds. Recognizes own name. Attends to speaking. Reacts to loud, angry, and friendly voices.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s cooing and babbling and imitate the child’s sounds. Talk, sign, sing, and read to child throughout the day. Read simple, bright-colored books to child. Describe environmental sounds (e.g., “There’s the door.”  “The dog is barking.”). When child reaches for an object; label it, talk about it, and give it to child to play with.  Repeat the name of the object.

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Goal 55: Children demonstrate comprehension and meaning in language.

Developmental Growth: Use a variety of vocalizations.

Child Indicators: Vocalizes to get attention (cries to get needs met). Experiments with and uses sounds and facial expressions. Laughs to display emotion. Shows more interest in people than objects. Vocalizes to express pleasure and displeasure. Vocalizes sounds other than crying and cooing. .

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations by smiling and giving attention. Respond to message behind child’s crying (hungry, tired, hurt). Use playful sounds in interactions with child; make talking a fun thing to do. Use descriptive talk during daily routines (changing diaper, feeding).Use animated expressions and language. Describe feelings (hungry, tired, wet).

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Goal 55: Children use language for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Use a variety of vocalizations.

Child Indicators: Vocalizes to get attention (cries to get needs met). Experiments with and uses sounds and facial expressions. Laughs to display emotion. Shows more interest in people than objects. Vocalizes to express pleasure and displeasure. Vocalizes sounds other than crying and cooing.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations by smiling and giving attention. Respond to message behind child’s crying (hungry, tired, hurt). Use playful sounds in interactions with child; make talking a fun thing to do. Use descriptive talk during daily routines (changing diaper, feeding). Use animated expressions and language. Describe feelings (hungry, tired, wet).

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6 - 18 Months

Goal 51: Children use receptive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Respond in meaningful, purposeful ways.

Child Indicators: Begins to recognize words (Mama, blankie). Understands simple phrases (wave bye-bye, up). Responds with gestures. Responds to the context of “no.” Attends to music or singing. Gives objects on request. May look to or go to familiar objects and people when named.Understands and responds to simple questions (e.g., “Where is the doggie?”). Has a receptive vocabulary of over fifty words in home language.

Caregiver Strategies: Talk, sign, and sing to child throughout daily routines. Use simple and repetitive language. Model appropriate language. Point and label objects, toys, and people in their natural setting.Encourage response to vocalizations. Use variety of experiences - people, activities, and settings to introduce varied vocabulary. Introduce new words in the context of daily life activities by narrating what child sees, hears, smells, touches, and tastes. Provide opportunities to point to familiar objects and actions for which he/she knows the names.Play labeling games (e.g., “Where is your nose?”). Read picture books daily, including poetry-rich with a variety of sound and word patterns, nursery rhymes, and “baby books.” Provide developmentally appropriate books (board and/or cloth books that child can touch and manipulate). Use a combination of “baby sign” and gestures from child’s experience, and words when talking with child.

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Goal 52: Children use expressive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Use meaningful vocalizations and gestures.  Use words with intent.

Child Indicators: Uses meaningful vocalizations. Imitates gestures.Babbles using two-lip sounds (“p,” “b,” and “m”) followed by a vowel sound (ba ba ba da da da).Uses consistent sound combinations to indicate specific object or person (“dada” for daddy). Imitates and repeats words. May use eight to ten understandable words (“daddy,” “bottle,” “up”) and/or “baby signs” (“more,”“nursing/bottle,” “all done”). Has a vocabulary of 1 to 50 words. Uses single words to communicate. Strings together varied intonation patterns with intent (jargon). Pairs gestures with words. Recognizes consonants and vowels in their vocalizations.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations and gestures. Respond to child’s crying and provide words (e.g., “You’re scared.” “You’re hurt.”). Use words to describe the child’s play and actions. Describe what the child is feeling (hungry, tired, wet). Give child wait time during interaction to encourage turn- taking. Create opportunities for need to communicate.

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Goal 53: children demonstrate progression in grammar and syntax.

Developmental Growth: Begin to use intonation and single words to communicate.

Child Indicators: Strings together varied intonation patterns.Uses no for negation.Uses intonation to indicate meaning.Uses single word speech (one word to communicate message; child says, “up” when wanting to be carried by adult) or beginning sign language and symbols (“more,” nurse/bottle,” all done).Uses some pronouns (mine).Says short telegraphic sentences (e.g., “Me go.” or “There mama.”).

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations and gestures.Verbally describe child’s interactions with the environment (e.g., “You want the bottle.” “You like your blanket.”).Describe feelings (hungry, tired, wet).Give child wait time to encourage turn-taking.Create opportunities for need to communicate.Acknowledge child’s efforts when he/she uses words and/or beginning baby sign language to communicate.Speak in simple sentences using a combination of words and “baby signs” when communicating with child.Use language in daily routines, talk with child, and associate words with actions (e.g., “First, we wash our hands; then we dry them; next, we open the refrigerator; then we take out the milk; next, we pour it in a glass.”).Make conversations enjoyable and fun for child.Use finger plays, lullabies, and songs from both child’s home and other languages.Communicate with family to learn words, gestures, “signs,” and “baby games” familiar to child that reflect his/her personal cultural experience.

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Goal 54: Children demonstrate comprehension and meaning in language.

Developmental Growth: Respond and attend to verbal and nonverbal communication.

Child Indicators: Looks at familiar objects when named. Responds to simple directions (e.g., “Wave bye-bye.”). Turns and looks at new sounds. Recognizes own name. Attends to speaking.Reacts to loud, angry, and friendly voices. Through play, may understand prepositions (in and on).

Caregiver Strategies: Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Read colorful books to child.  Point to pictures and encourage child to look at the picture. Use simple and repetitive language. Model appropriate language.  Use the correct name of the object (bottle, not baba). Use simple sentences. Point and label objects, toys, and people in their natural setting. Encourage response to vocalizations. Use a variety of experiences, people, activities, and settings to introduce varied vocabulary. Indicate to child that you comprehend what he/she is saying, gesturing, and expressing. Engage in conversations with child about things seen or experienced in familiar environments. Repeat questions and instructions, if necessary

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Goal 55: Children use language for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Use vocalizations and words for a variety of purposes

Child Indicators: Produces different cries for different reasons. Vocalizes in response to vocalization. Imitates facial expressions. Vocalizes in response to singing. Whines with a purpose. Replaces most gestures with words. Plays simple games with an adult (peek-a-boo, patty cake). Responds to peer vocalizations and words. Says single words to convey meaning (e.g., “Up,” meaning, I want up.).

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations and gestures. Respond to child’s crying by providing words for communication intent (e.g., “You’re scared.”). Describe the child’s actions (e.g., “You want help?” “You want something to eat?”). Provide words to describe child’s feelings (hungry, tired, wet). Give wait time to child to encourage turn-taking. Create opportunities for a need to communicate. Provide opportunities for child to contribute with single words as you make up a story. Ask “wh” questions (why, who, what, where, when). Immerse child in a language-rich environment.

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Language is the acquisition of linguistic forms and procedures, social rules, and customs for expressing and interpreting thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

16 - 38 Months

Goal 51: Children use receptive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Respond reciprocally to an expanding receptive vocabulary.

Child Indicators: Understands and responds to simple questions. Points to body parts. Follows one to three step directions. Points to pictures in books. Enjoys rhymes and finger plays. Understands some prepositions. Can match objects and pictures.Identifies objects by function. Begins to understand action words.  Responds to directions that include verbs (run, jump, reach, open). Identifies some people, objects, and actions by name.

Caregiver Strategies: Talk, sign, sing, and read to children. Read colorful books to child.Use expanded, repetitive language. Use sentence length slightly longer than the child’s when interacting and conversing. Add information to what the child says. Ask and answer questions. Play word games (show me, look in the mirror, animal sounds). Recite nursery rhymes and finger plays. Talk about what things do. Provide language-rich environment through conversation, books, family stories, music, and early inclusion in traditional community activities. When replying to attempts to communicate, confirm child’s intentions and then extend the topic adding new vocabulary words. Name new materials and objects when introducing them. When in a new environment, make up games like “What do you see?” and label aloud what you see around you (animals in the environment, name them aloud).

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Goal 52: Children use expressive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Use meaningful vocalizations and gestures.  Use words with intent.

Child Indicators: Uses meaningful vocalizations. Imitates gestures.Babbles using two-lip sounds (“p,” “b,” and “m”) followed by a vowel sound (ba ba ba da da da).Uses consistent sound combinations to indicate specific object or person (“dada” for daddy). Imitates and repeats words. May use eight to ten understandable words (“daddy,” “bottle,” “up”) and/or “baby signs” (“more,”“nursing/bottle,” “all done”). Has a vocabulary of 1 to 50 words. Uses single words to communicate. Strings together varied intonation patterns with intent (jargon). Pairs gestures with words. Recognizes consonants and vowels in their vocalizations.

Caregiver Strategies: Respond to child’s vocalizations and gestures. Respond to child’s crying and provide words (e.g., “You’re scared.” “You’re hurt.”). Use words to describe the child’s play and actions. Describe what the child is feeling (hungry, tired, wet). Give child wait time during interaction to encourage turn- taking. Create opportunities for need to communicate.

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Goal 53: children demonstrate progression in grammar and syntax.

Developmental Growth: Move from using simple words to more complex word order, word combinations, and word endings to convey meaning more fully.

Child Indicators: Uses words and phrases.Uses primary pattern of noun plus verb.Experiments with word endings (– ing, regular plural - s, past tense - ed, and possessives – ‘s).Uses negation in phrase form (e.g., “No milk.” “Not open.”).Includes adjectives with appropriate placement.Increases phrases from two words to three and four words.Uses three to four-word sentences with noun and verb.Describes a self-made drawing.Uses simple questions in speech but may not use correct grammar.

Caregiver Strategies: Encourage child to use words to express needs and wants.Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Expand child’s sentences with descriptive responses (e.g., child says, “ball,” respond, “here is the red ball.”).Model simple sentences.Encourage use of pronouns from child’s point of view (e.g., “I want milk” rather than, “Susie wants milk.”).Speak with child in complete sentences using correct grammar.Engage child in conversations that require more than a single word response.Read books from child’s home language and in other languages, if possible.When asking child questions, make sure to wait long enough for child to answer. Some children need more time to understand questions and put together words.Recognize that English Language Learners (ELL) may mix words from different languages in the same sentence. Repeat what child said using all the words in the same language.Provide play opportunities that encourage children to engage in conversation with one another and to tell family stories.While sitting with child during meals and snacks facilitate and model conversation using complete sentences.Engage child in a game using a small stuffed animal to demonstrate prepositions while saying, “The teddy bear is in the box” or “The teddy bear is next to the chair.”

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Goal 54: Children demonstrate comprehension and meaning in language.

Developmental Growth: Rapid increase in receptive vocabulary to reflect knowledge of their environment.

Child Indicators: Responds and acts on a familiar object when named. Follows direction, moving from one step to two steps or three steps within a routine. Understands new words rapidly. Understands simple descriptors (hot, wet, tall). Begins understanding of size concepts, counting, and family members’ names.Responds to yes/no questions. Understands location phrases. Recognizes and responds appropriately to nonverbal cues.

Caregiver Strategies: Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Read colorful books to child. Indicate to child that you comprehend what he/she is saying, gesturing, and expressing. Use expanded repetitive language. Use a sentence length slightly longer than the child’s when interacting and conversing. Add information to what the child says. Ask and answer questions. Play word games (show me..., look in the mirror, animal sounds). Engage in conversations with child about things seen or experienced in familiar environments. Recite nursery rhymes and finger plays. Talk about what things do. Read and repeat a story often, including stories from diverse cultures and then engage child in conversation about it.

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Goal 55: Children use language for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Use words, phrases, and sentences to meet social and physical needs.

Child Indicators: Uses gestures or vocalizations to protest or to gain attention. Exchanges gestures with adults. Initiates turn-taking routines. Uses more words during turn- taking. Responds to peers with words. Uses words and gestures to engage others in play (gestures and says, “chase!”). Uses short sentences or telegraphic speech to announce what he/she has done. Begins to recount an event, with assistance. Begins to recall parts of a previously heard story. Requests to hear familiar stories, songs, and rhymes. Begins to follow the sequence of events in an orally narrated story. Mimics animal sounds.

Caregiver Strategies: Support child to use words to express needs and wants. Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Expand child’s sentences with descriptive responses (e.g., child says, “ball,” you respond with, “here is the red ball.”). Model simple sentences. Encourage use of pronouns from child’s point of view (e.g., “I want milk” rather than, “Susie wants milk.”). Tell child stories about his/her family, community, and culture. Incorporate songs and rhymes into stories you tell so child can participate in storytelling. Ask open-ended and “wh” questions (why, who, what, where, when and how) to encourage child to describe an event or occurrence. Set aside time daily to engage in storytelling, singing, and talking with child.

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36 - 60 Months

Goal 51: Children use receptive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Use responses that demonstrate an increased knowledge of specific concepts.

Child Indicators: Identifies objects by category. Identifies objects by attribute. Responds to who, what, where, why, and when questions.Understands simple time concepts (tonight, tomorrow, yesterday). Understands relationships expressed by if then, or because sentences. Begins to identify shapes and colors. Understands number concepts (one, all, sets). Correctly answers yes and no questions. Responds appropriately to a request (e.g., “Bring me the green towel.”). Has a receptive vocabulary of several hundred words in home language. Distinguishes between real and made-up words. Recognizes and responds to some family and traditional stories and their meanings. Identifies parts of an object. Shows interest in why and how things work. Follows simple directions. Identifies verb tense in pictures. Understands full adult sentences.Responds to opposites, comparatives, and superlatives. Appreciates absurdities. Responds to how questions. Recognizes and follow routines. Follows a change in a routine that has been described.

Caregiver Strategies: Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Read colorful books with words to child. Play advanced word games (I Spy). Use the environment to encourage discussion of familiar objects, places, and people. Use adult-like language when conversing. Discuss abstract concepts listed above. Help the child better understand his/her world through the use of descriptive language. Use increasingly complex words, in context, and explain their meaning when talking with child. Provide opportunities for child to listen for new words in the environment and identify them when heard. Make photo “books” for child for identifying people, places, animals, of personal interest. Play “placement games” to show understanding of prepositions (e.g., “Put the ball under/on top of/beside the table.”). Converse naturally about what child is doing, listening to, and seeing. Facilitate and encourage peer language interactions in activities, pretend play, and outings. Provide opportunities for child to view art from their and other cultures and explain the related stories (totem poles and/or masks). Invite family members and community leaders to tell traditional stories rich with cultural language and images. Include child in family and community activities that include traditional songs, stories, and dances. Introduce a variety of new experiences to child (library, zoo, parks, shopping). Use expanded adult language when conversing. Discuss concepts from stories read. Establish routines in the child’s world. Compare and contrast objects and actions for the child.

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Goal 52: Children use expressive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Use phrases and sentences with functional and descriptive vocabulary.

Child Indicators: Uses sentences three to seven words in length. Takes turns in conversation. Answers why, what, and where questions. Retells an event or story. Answers simple comprehension questions from a story read aloud. Memorizes and recite simple songs and finger plays. Uses new vocabulary in spontaneous speech. Asks the meaning of unfamiliar words and then experiments with using them. Uses words to further describe actions or adjectives (running fast, playing well). Uses multiple words to explain ideas (e.g., when talking about primary caregiver says “mother/father” and/or “parent”).Uses words to express emotions (happy, sad, tired, scared). Uses more complex vocabulary to describe events.

Caregiver Strategies: 

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Goal 53: children demonstrate progression in grammar and syntax.

Developmental Growth: Use basic conventions of grammar and syntax.

Child Indicators: Uses articles in sentences (the ball, a cat).Uses complete sentences in conversations during play with peers.Begins to use correct question forms.Begins to use prepositions.Talks in sentences with five to six words to describe people, places, and events.Uses more complex grammar and parts of speech.Describes a task, project, and/or event sequentially in three or more sentences.Asks questions for information/clarification.Uses sequence sentences in logical order.Begins to correctly use subject and verb tense.Strings multiple sentences together in logical order.Uses complex grammar and parts of speech.Combines more than one idea using complex sentences.

Caregiver Strategies: Engage child in conversation and give wait time for a response.Provide multiple experiences in the community and discuss them.Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Model adult sentences in conversation.Ask open-ended questions (e.g., “What do you think?” “What do you think will happen if…?” “What if…?” After child answers, repeat the answer in a complete sentence or sentences.Engage child in meaningful conversations during daily routines.Set aside a regular time during daily routine to engage child in meaningful conversation (if child is bilingual, in both languages separately, at different times of the day).Let child know that you recognize all languages and means of expression as a valid means of communication.When reading with child, point out how text progresses from word to sentence to paragraphs.Model good grammar.Ask questions that reference time concepts (e.g., “What did you have for breakfast yesterday?”).Encourage adult sentence forms in conversation.

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Goal 54: Children demonstrate comprehension and meaning in language.

Developmental Growth: Respond verbally and non- verbally to verbal and gestural communication.

Child Indicators: Understands new words rapidly. Responds to simple questions. Understands location phrases. Follows simple commands. Responds to “wh” questions (what, when). Begins to understand and recall information from stories. Recognizes and responds appropriately to nonverbal cues. Follows directions that involve a two- or three-step sequence of actions, which may not be related (e.g., “Please pick up your toys and then get your shoes.”). Extends/expands the thought or idea expressed by another. Engages in conversation that develops a thought or idea (tells about a past event). Understands and recalls information in books and stories.Understands quantitative concepts (how many more chairs do we need?). Recognizes and responds in a culturally appropriate way to more subtle nonverbal cues. Comprehends analogies. Understands complex sentences.

Caregiver Strategies: Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Read colorful books to child. Play advanced word games (I Spy). Use the environment to encourage discussion of familiar objects, places, and people. Use adult-like language when conversing. Discuss abstract concepts listed above. Help the child explain experiences through the use of descriptive language. Discuss concepts from stories read. Establish routines in the child’s world. Compare and contrast objects and actions for the child. Play games that involve two- and tree-step directions (e.g. “Crawl through the tunnel, run to the fences, and sit down.”).

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Goal 55: Children use language for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Follow social conventions to access, gain, and share information.

Child Indicators: Uses words and phrases to relate observations, concepts, ideas, and relationships. Takes turns in conversation. Talks in sentences. Responds to questions. Uses words to protest. Relates past or future events. Asks questions to obtain information. Participates in conversations about a variety of topics. Engages in conversation with peers and adults. Interprets written symbols, pictures, and letters to a listener.Uses language to interpret the world. Uses words to express feelings of self and others. Uses own words to retell a story or to discuss an event in life.

Caregiver Strategies: Engage a child in conversation and give wait time for response. Provide multiple experiences in the community and discuss them. Talk, sign, sing, and read to child.Discuss concepts related to stories read. Encourage word play. Introduce rhyming words through word play. Encourage and model dramatic play (pretend play). Tell child stories from diverse cultures. Engage child in conversations that lend themselves to expressing different ideas (explanatory talk, conversations about science). Talk about daily events with child.Provide opportunities for child to create, act out, or tell make-believe stories.  Write them down as the child tells the story out loud. Encourage child to express feelings verbally. Introduce a variety of new experiences to child (library, zoo, parks, shopping). Use expanded adult language when conversing. Establish routines in the child’s world. Compare and contrast objects and actions for the child.

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Language is the acquisition of linguistic forms and procedures, social rules, and customs for expressing and interpreting thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

60 Months - Kindergarten

Goal 51: Children use receptive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Use responses that increase participation in specific learning and social contexts

Child Indicators: Demonstrates understanding of an increasing number of technical and specialized words (pediatrician is a child’s doctor). Understands words that mean the same thing (synonyms) and some words that mean the opposite thing (antonyms).

Caregiver Strategies: Engage child in hands-on learning and play that builds upon conceptual meaning of words including art, music, and traditions of child’s family and culture. Positively acknowledge child when he/she demonstrates understanding of new words. Build and expand on what child says by using more complex vocabulary. If you choose to view television, select quality children’s programs for not more than 1-2 hours per day, watch with the child, and explain to child the meaning of the vocabulary used.

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Goal 52: Children use expressive vocabulary.

Developmental Growth: Use oral and written communication for a variety of purposes.

Child Indicators: Uses lengthened and complex sentences. Uses multiple sentences to communicate experiences and tell a story. Expresses different tenses. Expresses most feelings and emotions using words. Names some non-present objects using appropriate words. Uses words correctly to indicate understanding. Defines words, with assistance (e.g., “Firefighters put out fires.”).

Caregiver Strategies: Play word games with child to encourage the use of new words. Engage child in making up rhymes. Ask questions that encourage child to use abstract vocabulary to express complex ideas (e.g., “What would this look like if...?”). Demonstrate, explain, and provide opportunities for child to understand how a word with the same sound can mean two different things (here and hear). Describe and explain the benefits of learning two or more languages and cultures and compare words and concepts between the languages and cultures with child.Model rich vocabulary in context (when pointing to object instead of saying, “thing,” name the object).

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Goal 53: children demonstrate progression in grammar and syntax.

Developmental Growth: Use most conventions in speech form and structure.

Child Indicators: Demonstrates beginning skills in using sentences in a logical sequence.Uses sentences (in child’s home language) that show an emergence of grammatical correctness with subject/verb agreement.Begins to use verb-tense appropriately with regular verbs.Begins to notice when simple sentences do not make sense, with assistance.

Caregiver Strategies: Use mealtimes as an occasion to encourage child to talk about the events of the day and things of interest.Model correct grammar in your response when child experiments with grammar.Provide opportunities for child to figure out and say the correct phrase, through a game like, “Which is Correct?” (e.g., “Which is correct? - ‘the bird blue big flew the nest around’ or, ‘the big blue bird flew around the nest’?”).Respond to child’s stories and descriptions of events.Show value for regional variations of language; compare similarities and differences between languages, including academic school English.Encourage child to use prepositional phrases in answer to questions (e.g., “Where are your shoes?” “They are under the bed.”).Engage child in motor activities in which they are demonstrating relationships to objects in the environment. Describe what they are doing (e.g., “Crawl under the table.” “Walk around the tree.” “Crawl in the box.” “Crawl out of the box.”).Encourage child to respond to questions in complete sentences.

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Goal 54: Children demonstrate comprehension and meaning in language.

Developmental Growth: Respond to verbal and nonverbal communication and recognize subtleties in communication.

Child Indicators: Follows two-part and three-part directions unfamiliar to the daily routine. Uses and understands complex sentences in the home language. Plays with language (jokes, riddles, words that sound fun together). Begins to represent a storyline through drawing, acting, or singing; with assistance. Retells simple stories in sequence.

Caregiver Strategies: Demonstrate, explain, and provide opportunities for child to play word games (making puns, asking riddles). Provide opportunities for child to listen to stories and allow time for discussion and interaction and activities. Tell family stories and encourage child’s response and questions. Use a game or song to help child learn to repeat multi-step directions by acting out the directions. Have child act out or role-play a story or legend to show comprehension.  “Interview” child afterward from his/her character’s perspective.

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Goal 55: Children use language for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Use language to address functional needs, to solve complex problems, and to create ideas and schemes.

Child Indicators: Describes the details of a recent event or occurrence. Tells stories with descriptions of characters and events. Uses oral language to express emotions and thoughts. Enjoys listening to stories from diverse cultures. Enjoys making up stories.Tells jokes to elicit others’ laughter. Creates made-up words and jokes.

Caregiver Strategies: Make time daily to engage child in different types of conversation (talking about daily events, re- telling or constructing multi- sequence stories). When telling stories from different cultures, respond when child indicates interest or curiosity. Provide opportunities for child to observe (or talk with person who runs) meetings or gatherings where translation equipment is used. Provide child with opportunities to talk about use of technology in daily life.

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