The concept of time is very complex for a child because of its immaterial aspect. Time cannot be “seen” but there are elements that materialize it: alternating day and night, the seasons which pass, our body which changes …
Each of us has our own perception of time. The perceived duration is not the same depending on the task that we are carrying out: 10 minutes doing an activity that I like generally spend faster than 10 minutes doing a task that I find difficult!
In everyday life, it can happen to each of us to use temporal terms which can be very vague for young children: “hurry up”, “wait 2 minutes I’m busy” “quickly, we will being late, the bus will pass in 10 minutes ”.
However, the child functions at the start at the present moment. Little by little, through his experiences, his development, based on his memory, his observations, he widens his knowledge of time and manages to find his bearings better.
Time organization requires long learning. Here are some benchmarks (from Fraisse, 1967):
- 1 ½ year: Prevalence of the present.
- 2 years: The child can link two successive events.
- 3 years: The term tomorrow appears in reference to an indefinite near future.
- 4 years old: The child refers to the next season. He can ask if it is morning or afternoon and what he does at these different times of the day.
- 5 years: Important holidays are retained (Christmas, birthday). Yesterday and tomorrow are used by the way. It can indicate in order 4 or 5 activities of the day.
- 6 years old: It indicates the day of the week and can list the days in order.
- 7 years: It indicates the month and the season.
- 8 years old: He begins to consider the future (when I grow up) and assess the time necessary to complete a task.
- 9 years old: He reads the time, begins to estimate a duration but still with errors.
- 12 years old: He assesses the duration of a conversation, the time which separates him from the coming or past vacations.
Thus, the acquisition of temporal notions will go through the understanding of several concepts including:
- The order: This relates to the succession of events.
- Duration: This quantifies time by measuring an event from its start to its end.
- Rhythm: This could be defined as the regular repetition of a given structure or sequence.
Organization skills are mostly learned and taught with many methods include in organizing toys, helping in the kitchen among other activities
These three notions, fundamental when dealing with time, will be developed in the next articles: activities associated with the temporal organization (the notion of order, the notion of duration and its evaluation, reproducing/adjusting with rhythmic structures ) will be proposed so that the temporal notions take on meaning for your children.
Take the time to take a look…