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Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 3 to 4 Years > Intellectual Development

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Intellectual Development - Language: 3 to 4 years

Intellectual Development means being able to communicate, to think both creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems, and develop keen judgment and a lifelong readiness to learn.

Emerging Skills
  • Use well formed sentences
  • Talk about things that happened today and tomorrow, having developed some understanding of time
  • Have detailed conversations with playmates
  • Engage frequently in imaginary play
  • Repeat simple rhymes and songs
  • Understand three-step directions (for example, "Pick up your toys, put them on the shelf and come and sit with me")
  • Ask "why" and "how" questions
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your preschooler, 3 to 4 Years.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, preschoolers will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed.

    Parents Can:
  • Read their preschooler his favourite book before bed
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy a special shared time of reading
  • Use words and sentences he has memorized to be an active participant in this experience

  • Parents Can:
  • Encourage their preschooler to ask questions
  • Child Will:
  • Feel her curiosity is supported
  • Expand her own ideas and accounts of events

  • Parents Can:
  • Interpret when their preschooler has difficulty expressing himself
  • Child Will:
  • Develop a sense of trust that he can turn to adults when help is needed

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, preschoolers will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Play word games with rhymes
  • Child Will:
  • Further develop her understanding of language, as well as building her vocabulary

  • Parents Can:
  • Play guessing games that encourage their preschooler to think about functional relationships (for example, "What do you need for cleaning your teeth?")
  • Child Will:
  • Practice thinking about objects and their functional characteristics
  • Have to use his memory rather than relying on concrete objects

  • Parents Can:
  • Set up an area for imaginative play with puppets
  • Child Will:
  • Develop her own stories and act them out
  • Experiment with new phrases and descriptions

  • Teach

    Through routines and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, preschoolers can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Read stories that have a clear beginning, middle and end, and use new words
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to incorporate the structure of stories into his own descriptions and accounts of his experiences

  • Parents Can:
  • Ask their preschooler to tell them about the stories that go with the pictures she has drawn
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand how the written word can represent her thoughts and ideas

  • Parents Can:
  • Visit the local library or bookstore to explore books with their preschooler
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to develop an interest in the written word
  • Be encouraged to love the activity of reading books

  • Social Development: 3 to 4 years
    Emotional Development: 3 to 4 years
    Intellectual Development - Numeracy: 3 to 4 years
    Intellectual Development - Problem Solving: 3 to 4 years

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