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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 (Physical and cognitive development in early childhood)

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Dalhousie University
PSYO 2090

Cognitive development (Chapter 7) Piaget’s preoperational stage Preoperational stage: (2-7 years) - children begin to represent the world with words, images, and drawings. They form stable concepts and begin to reason Cognitive world dominated by egocentrism and magical beliefs The term “preoperational” emphasizes that the child does not yet think in an operational way Operations: internalized set of actions that allow a child to do mentally what before he or she did physically Preoperational thought can be divided into 2 substages: the symbolic function substage and the intuitive thought substage Symbolic function substage Symbolic function substage: (2-4 years) - the child gains the ability to mentally represent an object that is not present Scribbles Pretend play Language Thinking still has several important limitations: Egocentrism: the inability to distinguish between one’s own perspective and someone else’s perspective Animism: belief that inanimate objects have lifelike qualities and are capable of action Intuitive thought substage Intuitive thought substage: (4-7 years) - when children begin to use primitive reasoning and want to know the answers to all sorts of questions Centration: the focusing, or centring, of attention on one characteristic to the exclusion of all others Conservation: Awareness that altering an object’s or a substance’s appearance does not change its basic properties Vygotsky’s theory The zone of proximal development (ZPD) Zone of proximal development (ZPD): the range of tasks too difficult for a child to master alone but that can be learned with the guidance and assistance of adults or more-skilled children Lower ZPD level: Child solves new problem Upper ZPD level: Child solves with assistance (not too much though) Scaffolding Scaffolding: the changing support over the course of a teaching session, with the more skilled person adjusting to the amount of guidance to fit the child’s current performance level Language and thought Social constructivism approach: an approach that emphasizes that both learning and the construction of knowledge occur in social contexts Teaching strategies ONE: assess the child’s ZPD TWO: use the child’s ZPD in teaching THREE: use more-ckileld peers as teachers FOUR: monitor and encourage children’s use of private speech FIVE: place instruction in a meaningful context Vygotsky vs. Piaget Constructivism Vygotsky: social constructivist Piaget: Cognitive constructivist Stages Vygotsky: no general stages Piaget: strong emphasis on stages Key processes Vygotsky: zone of proximal development, language, dialogue, tools of the culture Piaget: schema, assimilation, accommodation, operations, conservation, classification, hypothetical-deductive reasoning Role of language Vygotsky: a major role; language plays a powerful role in shaping thought Piaget: language has a minimal role; cognition primarily directs language View on education Vygotsky: education plays a central role, helping children learn the tools of the culture Piaget: education merely refines the child’s cognitive skills that already have emerged Teaching implications Vygotsky: teacher is a facilitator and guide, not a director; establish many opportunities for children to learn with the teacher Piaget: also views teacher as a facilitator and guide, not a director; provide support for children to explore their world and discover knowledge Information processing Attention Executive attention: involves action planning, allocating attention to goals, error detection and compensation, monitoring progress on tasks, and dealing with novel or difficult circumstances Sustained attention: involves focused and extended engagement with an object, task, event, or other aspect of the environment In at least 2 ways, the child’s control of attention is still deficient Salient vs. relevant dimensions: pay more attention to stimulus that stands out Planfulness: when experimenters ask children to judge whether 2 complex pictures are the same, preschool children tend to use haphazard comparison strategy, not examining all the details before making a judgment. By comparison, elementary school age kids are more likely to systematically compare the details across the pictures, one detail at a time Cognitive development in early childhood related to attention in infancy Selective attention: ability to attend to a particular instruction Attention is related to academic and social competence Memory Short-term memory Short-term memory: the memory component in which individuals retain information for 15-30 seconds assuming there is no rehearsal STM increases during early childhood Short to memory increases as age increases 2 digits at ages 2-3 (2 chunks) 5 digits at age 7 (5 chunks) Scripts Multiple schemas Schemas for events Memory for what occurs in a particular situation Scripts become more elaborate during early childhood Scripts can help children remember Strategies Deliberate mental activities to improve processing of information Children as young as 2 years of age can learn a strategy Theory of mind Theory of mind: the awareness of one’s own mental processes and the mental processes of others From 18 months through age 3, children begin to understand 3 states Perceptions: children realizes that other’s see what is in front of their own eye and not what is in front on the child Desires Emotions By age 5, children have some understanding of false beliefs and use past accuracy to judge sources of information Theory of mind and autism Huge deficits in theory of mind Difficulty understanding other’s beliefs and emotions Early childhood education (chapter 7) The child-centered kindergarten Education involves the whole child and includes concern for the child’s physical, cognitive, and social development Consider child's needs, interests, and learning styles Developmentally appropriate practice Age appropriateness Individual appropriateness (some are advanced, some are slow) Children who attend preschool or kindergarten: Interact more with peers (learn rules - how to cope and cooperate) Are more socially competent and mature The montessori approach The montessori approach: An educational philosophy in which children are given considerable freedom and spontaneity in choosing activities Reggio Emilia: Children are encouraged to investigate and explore, however, stimulating media and material are used to teach them - set standards (Following Vygotsky's theory) Developmentally appropriate and inappropriate practices Developmentally appropriate practice focuses on the typical patterns of children and the uniqueness of each child Young children’s literacy and numeracy Literacy skills in early childhood are related to reading performance in elementary and secondary schools Development of numeracy skills between ages 2- 5 are critical to later number learning Young children’s literacy and numeracy Literacy is important for school achievement Early literacy programs should include: Instruction built on what the children already know Reading integrated into the communication process A wide variety of reading materials Adults as models for using language appropriately Individualized attention Children as active participants in the learning process Numeracy is jus as important Numeracy skills should be addressed and fostered through interactive activity with adults Education for children who are disadvantaged Child-driven teaching may not help linguistic- minority children achieve progress in verbal skills Comprehensive preschool programs that provide academic and non-academic support, such as Head Start, may have positive effects on children from disadvantaged economic backgrounds Early childhood education for children from low-income families Project Head Start: Opportunity to acquire skills and experience for school success Project Follow Through: Programs through first few years of school Health and wellness (chapter 7) Energy needs Preschool children should consume 1,700 calories per day
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