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At what age do we learn to read the time to kindergarten?

23 avril 2013

Our dear children are often very impatient to have a watch too, as their parents. But before wearing it proudly in their wrist, they first need to learn how to read time… This complex apprenticeship is generally approached when they are about 7 years old at school, even if certain children are asking for a watch already at the kindergarten school.

Cognitive development of the children, in terms of notions of time and hour.
Scientific studies demonstrated that it is between 3 and 4 years that the children begin to acquire their first notions of space, time and quantity. At this age, they also begin to use basic count.

Between 4 and 5 years, they begin to perceive their own performance level. They also begin to know how to classify elements, and to give a sense to the notion of series (days, month, etc.).

Between 5 and 6 years, these notions complicate and the children begin to understand more general notions of membership in a group, a series, a family.

Between 7 and 11 years, they enter the world of the concrete operations, and begin to get acquainted with the logic of the numbers.

Finally, it is also necessary to know that according to P. Fraisse « the child has intuitions of duration, this one showing itself to him under the primitive shape of an interval which opposes the fulfilment of its desires.  » The distinction between « temporal horizon » and « notion of time » is of this respect fertilize, the child who can « have a temporal horizon, feelings of time, appreciate the duration » before « being capable of operating constructions « .

Progressiveness of the apprenticeship of the reading an hour.
When the children reach the age of 7 years, the objective is of their credit note learnt to spot the hour half the hour.
As they also learnt to know all the numbers until 60, a work on the notion of minutes can thus begin to be operated from this age.

Finally, it is at about 8 years when the children will have to know the relation between the hour and minute (the 1 hour it is 60 minutes).

Initiation into time to the kindergarten school.
In touch with the cognitive capacities of the children of kindergarten school, it is asked to the teachers to attempt first of all to allow the children (from 3 to 4 years) to know how to distinguish the various moments of the day.

It is a question at this stage, that the child understands and masters the succession of the events of his/her day.

For the a little older children (from 5 to 6 years), the objective of the teachers concerns the notion of duration, so that the children can well dread it. Indeed, it is what is going to open them the way towards the first rudiments of the apprenticeship of the reading an hour, generally from 7 years.

To reach these crucial goals, the ingenuity of the teachers is often put in big contribution and counts of them publish even on the Internet the fruit of their experiments, under the forms of small comic strips, bed songs, and other construction sets of clocks, all more ingenious and more attractive some than the others.

A watch for the kindergarten school?
Since the beginning of 2000s, and further to a cooperation company/university, a new watch was born: the kindergarten watch who answers numbers of the imperatives wished by the teachers.

Indeed, this educational watch, leaning on a very rudimentary principle of combinations of pictograms, answers a large number of expectations in term of educational tool.

At first, a series of temporal pictograms helps the child to assimilate and to memorize intuitively the various key moments of day: in the morning, morning, noon, the afternoon, an evening and at night.

Secondly, another series of pictograms represents the key activities of the typical day of a child: get up, have a wash, to have lunch, to go to the school, to enter class, etc. …

Thanks to the simplicity of the selected pictograms, the children assimilate very quickly the sense of these various symbols.

The following stage consists then in making them perceive the sense of the combination of two symbols. Here is an example:

– The sun (noon) and a plate: the lunch
– The sun mixed with the moon (evening) and a plate: the supper

Having been tested and had been the object for a long time of several doctoral theses, the educational watch with pictograms entered kindergarten schools.

It is certainly still perfectible, and the teachers, as families contribute every day by their remarks and their suggestions to improve its relevance and its utility.

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P. FRAISSE. Psychology of time(weather) Paris, PUF, on 1967, p. 297,
The development of the location(localization) in the time(weather) at children from 5 to 9 years old of different socioeconomic circles

The construction of the temporal horizon at the child

The preschool said age, from 3 to 6 years

The development of the child