Young Child (2-4 Yrs)

Between ages two and five, tamariki learn a lot about language. They move from two word sentences to full, long phrases. It is important that you keep nurturing the language skills of your tamaiti, in line with her cognitive development, by using lots of new and interesting words when you are talking together.



Te pakeke o tō tamaiti

He aha āna pūkenga?

2 years

  • Pēpi has an understanding of grammar, or the rules of speaking in Māori.
  • Can name a number of objects common to his surroundings
  • Combines words into a short sentence
  • Vocabulary of about 50 words or more
  • Rhythm and fluency often poor
  • Volume and pitch of voice not yet well-controlled
  • Māku/mōku, nāku/nōku feature strongly, although are often mixed up (pēpi won't understand the a/o categories yet)
  • Responds to such commands that include two or more pieces of information such as Tīkina tō kope me ō hū. (Get your nappy and shoes.)

3 years

  • Start to correctly use au, koe and ia
  • Numbers tahi, rua, and common adjectives like matekai, ngenge, and makariri start to make sense
  • Can make 3-5 word sentences
  • Will know several body parts if you have been playing the game "Kei hea tō ihu, kei hea tō waha"
  • About 90% of what child says should be intelligible
  • Understands most simple questions dealing with his environment and activities
  • Able to reason out simple questions such as "Inā kei te  hiamoe/matekai/wera koe, me aha koe?"

4 years

  • Beginning to understand concepts like nui/iti, runga/raro, roto/waho and other contrasts/opposites
  • Knows names and sounds of familiar animals
  • Names common objects in picture books or magazines
  • Knows one or more colors
  • Can usually repeat words of four syllables
  • Often indulges in make-believe (kōrero rūpahu)
  • Can say their first and last names
  • Engages in lots of ‘talking' as she carries out activities
  • Much repetition of words, phrases, syllables, and even sounds