Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Preschool Years (3–5)

What are some examples of preschool children’s language?

When the interchanges listed below took place, Josh was between four and five years old and his sister Alex was two years older. These quotes were recorded by their mother. Note how Josh, who is in the preschool stage, is drawn to fantasy and imaginative thinking. Despite his verbal skills, he does not yet fully understand the rules of logic or the difference between reality and fantasy. In contrast, his older sister, Alex, is in Piaget’s stage of concrete operations. At this age, she understands the basic rules of transformation, how objects and people change, and how they stay the same.

Josh: Dolphins can dance on their tails and flop onto their tummies.
Mom: How do they dance on their tails?
Josh: They have purple shoes on.
Josh: When I grow up, I’m going to be a train.
Alex: You can’t be an animal or a machine. You have to be a man cause that’s the way God made you. You can be whatever you want to be like a doctor or teacher, but you have to be a man cause that’s the way it is.
(Josh and Alex are fighting over toys.)
Alex: Josh, let’s trade.
Josh: OK, I want both.
Josh: No, you can’t eat that for breakfast. Breakfast comes from on top of the fridge. 18

By the age of six, both boys and girls tend to spend more time with same-sex playmates than with the opposite sex. (iStock).

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