Time, Chronology, language and story

Primary History article

By Pat Hoodless, published 15th November 2011

Time - chronological understanding

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Time, although an extremely complex, abstract concept, is one that begins to develop in children's minds as soon as they are born. Although it cannot be seen or touched and leaves no visible trace, very young children are quickly aware of it. As is well known, they soon become aware of night and day, of ‘sleeps' and mealtimes. What they undoubtedly find difficult to master, however, is the measurement of time passing. They struggle with both the number concepts associated with this as well as the language they need to express their understanding of it. Surprisingly, however, they have quite sophisticated, varied understandings of time as they have experienced it, through their own personal experiences, and in story...

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