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Language and Communication Use in on under in short phrases  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


In general situations, the child will be able to use prepositions (e.g. in/on/under) in 2-3 word phrases. The child MUST understand and be able to use these prepositions on their own before doing these activities.

Early years skill:Shape, space and measure
Early years typical range:30-50m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Maths Shape Space and Measures
P-scales/Curriculum level:P7
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP42
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
2-3 word phrases with in/on/under: instructional

Animal pictures or toys

Toy furniture: table, chair, bed.

1. Place the furniture in front of the child.

2. Ask the child to tell you what to do with an animal of their choosing if they are able to use three word phrases. If they can only use two word phrases, select the toy for them and ask them to tell you where to put it.

e.g. under table / on bed (two word level);

cat under table / sheep on bed (three word level)



Allow the child to explore materials and give time to respond to questions.

Respond to however the child manages to get their message across (for example if they just point): you may need to demonstrate what you want the child to do using the appropriate language (e.g. "under (the) table").

After the child is familiar with the objects - you can make the task more difficult (and communicative) by putting a screen between the objects and the child whilst they give you an instruction.

2-3 word phrases with prepositions: descriptions

As above

1. Show the child the animals and furniture.

2. Place an animal in/on/under one of the items of furniture. Ask the child to describe what you have done:

e.g. cat on chair / dog in bed / mouse under table

See comments above.

Phrases with prepositions: in the playground




Using objects in the playground, move into positions and ask the child to describe them.

e.g. you( 're) under (a) tree / you( 're) on (a) swing

See comments above.

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