Concept of Time in Children

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The concept of time in children is shaped in the first 6 years of life depending on mental development and experience. During this period, rapid progress is seen in children in terms of physical, mental, emotional and social aspects. As the child grows up, he records everything he sees around him in his mind, begins to make sense of it and classify it. It starts with concrete (visible) concepts to build the ability to comprehend. It is more difficult for them to learn abstract concepts. They try to learn by concretizing soft information.

It is easier to learn about the past. They have difficulty learning the concept of time today and tomorrow. What the words ‘after a certain time’ mean does not make sense to the child because his mind is not mature. The concepts related to time that should be taught in the preschool education program of the Ministry of National Education are as follows: Before, now, after – Night, day – Morning, noon, evening – Yesterday, today, tomorrow.

While teaching the concept of time to children, plans should be made according to their age. From the first years of life, regular sleeping and eating habits should be gained. These are things that must be done consistently every day. It is tried to teach the child what to do with the definitions of before and after the meal, before and after the sleep with reference to the fixed things to do. Night and day are distinguishable concepts. They are taken as a reference when teaching time. The concepts of yesterday, today and tomorrow can be taught by the child’s own experiences. The game we played yesterday, the trip we will go today, the guest who will come home tomorrow are handled by realizing the concepts that inform time. In order to express how time passes, the hour and minute hands of classical clocks are taught with the definition of short and long (large, small).

While dealing with various game activities, the child is tried to be taught by keeping time, how the short and the long on the clock move on the numbers. When planning with young children, limiting time terms such as 10 minutes later or wait a second are confusing for them. Definitions made by showing the clock that the child can see abstractly will make it easier for him to understand the passage of time. It takes 10-12 years for children to acquire the habits of adults to use time. At this age, they reach the level of planning about time.

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