Early Prepositions: A free audio-visual resource

A short video library to help children understand and use early prepositions

Early Preposition Videos for children: A FREE audio-visual resource for anyone who wants it!

From around 18-24 months of age, typically developing children start to understand and to use words like "on", "off", "up", "down", "in", and "out". As their language improves, children start to understand and use other words like "over", "under", "between", "in front", "behind", "beside", "next to" and "through".

All these words are "prepositions". Early "prepositions" are all about the positions of things in space, or relative to other things. This makes sense: the word "preposition" comes from the Latin praepositio(n- ), from the verb praeponere, which in turn is made up of:

  • prae ‘before’ +
  • ponere ‘to place’.

Many children - including some children with developmental language disorders, and some children learning English as an additional language - have difficulties understanding and using early prepositions.

As any experienced speech pathologist will tell you, lots of children struggle to pick up prepositions from passively looking at worksheets or books. It's much better to show children what the words mean, for example, in natural play activities.

Many children with preposition difficulties needs lots (and I means LOTS) of repetition. And some children struggle to learn words in play activities - for example, children who have difficulties with joint attention and/or play.

To make things easier for families, preschool teachers, child carers, speech pathologists, students, assistants, and others working with young children, we have put together a library of short early preposition videos. For each preposition, we provide ten examples of the preposition in action using familiar objects. We then invite children to "show us" the preposition in question by having a go at showing it.

Important thanks and credits: The videos in this free resource were made by:

  • our wonderful first year speech pathology Masters students from the University of Technology, Susannah and Joe; and
  • Cherie - our hard-working, multi-tasking administrative assistant and fourth year University of Sydney speech pathology student. (Cherie made some of the trickier videos, and helped me oversee the project - all in between answering phone calls); and
  • some of our busy Banter clinicians between therapy sessions.

Now, none of us will be challenging for Best Director at this year's Oscars. Different speech pathologists and students used slightly different ways of modelling the prepositions, and our editing is a little rough and ready in places. However, this project was not about slick perfection; it's about giving children multiple exposures to each preposition in as little time as possible while showing what it means.

These videos can be used within our learning platform, or downloaded to your preferred storage spot. They are designed to be watched during every day activities, e.g. at the start of mealtimes, in the car, or while waiting in lines.


We've added in some evidence-based tips you can use help children to understand and learn prepositions. These include overviews of
techniques like following the child's lead, focused stimulation, modelling and recasting.

Thank you!

We've had great feedback on the videos from clients and their families, and wanted to share them with others as a free resource.*

We hope you find these videos as useful as we do!

*Licence details: These resources are published under a standard Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) License. You can read more about this kind of license here: https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/licensing-types-examples/

Your Instructor

David Kinnane
David Kinnane

Known to many as Speech Bloke, David is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist, Lawyer, Author and Father. He is based in Sydney, Australia, where he helps adults and children with communication issues to speak for themselves.

David manages a busy private speech pathology clinic, and a publishing company for speech pathologists in private practice. He is the founder of Banter Speech & Language, and Speechies in Business. He is passionate about ethical practices and consumer rights and regularly guest lectures to speech pathology students and others on legal issues affecting the profession.

David holds a Master of Speech Language Pathology from the University of Sydney, where he was a Dean's Scholar, ranking first in his graduating year. He is admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Hong Kong, and lived for 8 years in Hong Kong. David is a Certified PESL Instructor for accent modification. He is a Hanen- and LSVT LOUD-certified speech-language pathologist with post-graduate training in the PreLit early literacy preparation program by MultiLit, the Spalding Method for literacy, and Voicecraft for voice issues.

Prior to becoming a speech pathologist, David was a senior lawyer at a US Investment Bank and, before then, worked for global law firms in Hong Kong and Sydney. He knows what it takes to communicate professionally and to compete in a globalised workforce.

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