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Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 4 to 5 Years > Intellectual Development

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Intellectual Development - Language: 4 to 5 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
  • Play with language and make up new words
  • Talk about imaginary conditions
  • Use negatives, such as "I don't want to go"
  • Make up rhymes or sing songs
  • Communicate cause and effect relationships, such as "I can't play because I'm sick"
  • Use past, present and future tenses correctly
  • Tell long stories about personal experiences
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your preschooler, 4 to 5 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:
  • Tell their preschooler long stories without pictures
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy special shared time of listening to stories
  • Strengthen his listening and comprehension skills

  • Parents Can:
  • Encourage their preschooler to talk about things she finds interesting. Ask open-ended questions, such as "How come ..." or "Why do you think..."
  • Child Will:
  • Practice reasoning skills as she thinks about cause and effect relationships
  • Reinforce knowledge she has, to provide details and information

  • Parents Can:
  • Ask their preschooler to predict what might happen next in a story
  • Child Will:
  • Think about how events may be sequenced
  • Use his imagination to create new actions in a story

  • Play

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

    Parents Can:
  • Play guessing games, such as "I Spy with my Little Eyes"
  • Child Will:
  • Practice her observation skills
  • Reinforce labels for such concepts as colour, shape and size

  • Parents Can:
  • Play silly games, such as using the wrong word in the right place. For example, "I'm going to the store to buy a giraffe, and then to the zoo to see a watermelon."
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy the humour of gross contradictions
  • Enjoy correcting you using appropriate vocabulary

  • Parents Can:
  • Encourage their preschooler to make up a story to accompany a picture
  • For their older preschooler, the story can be written verbatim under the picture
  • Child Will:
  • Make the connection between oral and written language
  • Practice language skills to compose stories

  • Teach

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

    Parents Can:
  • Play word games that focus on initial letters. For example, "I'm Annie and I love apples."
  • Child Will:
  • Practice the basic reading readiness skill of identifying letter sounds
  • Learn that letters represent a sound

  • Parents Can:
  • Watch a TV programme with their preschooler, and have her recall details and events
  • Child Will:
  • Practice oral retelling of what she remembers
  • Practice using new words and grammatical constructions

  • Parents Can:
  • Point out words on signs and labels in their preschooler's daily environment, such as Stop signs, "milk" and so on
  • Child Will:
  • Become aware of the connection between spoken words and the print equivalent
  • Practice reading readiness skills

  • Social Development: 4 to 5 years
    Emotional Development: 4 to 5 years
    Intellectual Development - Numeracy: 4 to 5 years
    Intellectual Development - Problem Solving: 4 to 5 years

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