Mixed-age grouping is becoming increasingly more popular among early childhood center-based educational settings. It involves putting children who may be more than two years apart in age in the same group or class. Centers that use this model find that the relationships between child and caregiver are greatly strengthened.
Receptive language—words a child understands but doesn’t yet say—typically precedes language production by several months. At 8 months, a little one begins to understand his or her name along with such common words as “bottle,” “mama,” “dada” and “bye-bye.” “No no” and “all gone” typically are understood at about 11 months. By age 1, a child will understand more than 50 words, and that number will continue to grow dramatically month-to-month, even though that child may barely be talking. Meanwhile, the acquisition of expressive language—words a child understands and says—relates to what a child best knows and is interested in—mom and dad, for example.
A child acquires language in predictable stages. (Note: Some language-acquisition experts suggest that there are six stages (including the earliest stage of cooing). Other experts describe five stages, starting with babbling. Still others contend that there are four main stages when two multi-word stages are combined.