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36 to 48 Months

Source: Adaptation of the Guide d'enseignement efficace de la lecture de la maternelle à la 3e année, page 2.16 (2003)

From the age of 36 to 48 months old, the child:

  • asks and looks for information
  • continues to experiment with the sounds of French (for example, “William aime le tam-tam.”)
  • may still mix up the “s” and “ch” sounds (for example, “sien” instead of “chien”), and “w” and “r” (“cawotte” instead of “carotte”)
  • can express his/her feelings (for example, “Je n'aime pas...”)
  • uses sentences of four to five words
  • understands up to 1500 words
  • understands prepositions and adjectives (for example, “grand, petit, dans, sur, sous”)
  • begins to develop concepts of time, dimensions and quantity (for example, “maintenant/tout à l'heure, gros/petit, un peu/beaucoup”)
  • can link concepts and sort
  • can follow simple, two-part instructions (for example,  “Lève la jambe et mets ton pied dans la botte!”)
  • understands questions such as: “Qu'est-ce que... fait? Où...? Qui...? Est-ce que...?”
  • is interested in stories and participates actively in them
  • can tell stories from pictures
  • reports information in sequence, without making reference to any causality

To find out more...

  • Guide du développement du langage chez l’enfant en milieu exogame (in French with tips and advice in English for language development in a family where the parents don’t have the same mother tongue) | A practical guide for parents of children from 0 to 7 years old by SOFA (Yukon). Written in simple language, it contains useful information classified by the age of the child, and practical advice in French and English for life in a bilingual family (e.g. what the parents who speak different languages can do to support their child's language development). Interestingly, the author suggests the use of a few American sign language (ASL) gestures for the period from birth to six months, to allow the child to express a few basic concepts (I love you, thirst, hunger, etc.) that both parents can understand.
  • Votre enfant apprend à parler (Jean-Adolphe Rondal), Éditions Mardaga, 1998, 110 p. | A classic book about the stages of language development in children, written for parents and educators. Chapter 5 is particularly relevant for this age.
  • Tableau de l’acquisition des sons du français selon l’âge  (table of French sound acquisition according to age – available in French only).
  • Increase in Vocabulary Understood (graph of French vocabulary progression)