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Cognitive Development in Early Childhood

Cognitive Development in Early Childhood

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Cognitive Development in Early Childhood

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  1. Cognitive Development in Early Childhood Chapter 8

  2. Cognitive Development based on Multiple Factors • Parallels the growth of the brain • Increased levels of myelinization • Continued pruning • Elaboration based on experience • Enhanced by the broader range of experience • Expanding peer networks • Greater diversity in interactions with adults • The child’s own increased mobility

  3. Three Theoretical Perspectives • Piaget • Vygotsky • Information Processing

  4. Piaget’s Perspectives • Transition from Sensorimotor into Preoperational Thought • Capable of using symbolic thought to perform mental tasks • According to Piaget’s work, lacks the ability to operate on those mental tasks • Mental operations may not be available for reflective consideration

  5. Piaget’s Perspectives • Progression of mental capabilities • Use of language to represent symbols • Recognizes when stories are told out of order • Explanations are more complex • Use of art to represent symbols • Drawings tend to be more realistic as the child progresses across the early childhood years • Use of play to model roles and objects • Can use one object to represent other objects

  6. Piaget’s Perspectives: Preoperational Thought • Intuitive thought • Based on personal experiences • Logic based on unanalyzed personal experiences (e.g. flag theory of wind and air conditioner theory of summer)

  7. Piaget’s Perspectives • Egocentrism • Failure to take others’ perspectives • Sees others as having one’s own perspective • Animistic thought • Attributes animate qualities to inanimate objects • Artificialism • Attributes natural phenomena (sunsets, tides) to direct human action

  8. Piaget’s Perspectives • Conservation • Ability to recognize the constancy of invariants (e.g. number, mass) in spite of transformations of variable attributes • Discontinuous fluids • Continuous fluids • Number • Mass

  9. Piaget’s Perspectives • Centration • Tendency to isolate one attribute as a focus of attention and ignore other relevant aspects (e.g. height and diameter of a cylinder in the liquid conservation task) • Reversibility • Failure to mentally reverse the operations that led to the change in attribute or end point. • Static endpoints • Tendency to focus on beginning and end states regardless of the nature of the transformation

  10. Vygotsky’s Perspective • Theoretical orientation reflected a Marxist dialectical view • Social speech—interaction with others—precedes private speech monologue by the child • Private speechprecedes the internalization of the concept to a mental representation

  11. Vygotsky’s Perspective • Development (for Vygotsky) • occurred in a social or intermental plane first and then on an internal or intramental plane • required the presence of a more competent other • required the more competent other to mediate the process of learning and development

  12. Vygotsky’s Perspective • Concepts for Application: • Zone of Proximal Development: more competent other assists the child in moving from what the child can do independently to that which the child can do only with support • Scaffolding: the process of supporting the child across the zone of proximal development • Impacts on educational practices: • Teacher as a coach or facilitator • Emphasis on cooperative learning with mixed ability groups

  13. Information Processing Theory • Encoding—initial input of information from environment (sense organs; perception; attention) • Transformation—processes operating on that information (strategies—depth of processing) • Storage—retention of the information (network models—schema structures)

  14. Information Processing Theory • Retrieval—recall or recognition of the information from memory (strategies—search of memory) • Executive function—management, monitoring, and control of cognitive domain (metacognition; cognitive monitoring; selection and use of strategies;

  15. Developmental Considerations • Capacity increases—amount of information one can process • Maturation of the CNS (central nervous system) • Increased practice at particular tasks (e.g. naming, answering questions) • Rehearsal strategies (e.g. rote vs. meaningful)

  16. Developmental Considerations • Efficiency increases—amount and /or complexity of processing by unit time • Maturation of the CNS • Acquisition of more efficient strategies • Transition from controlled to automatic processing

  17. Developmental Considerations • Controlled Processes • Conscious (child is aware of the steps) • Each step is monitored (child knows outcomes) • Requires additional processing resources (limited capability for parallel tasks—multitasking) • Examples: • Early reading behavior • Early mathematics computation • Learning to drive a manual transmission

  18. Developmental Considerations • Automatic Processes • Steps largely outside of awareness (Child is not aware of discrete processes) • Overall progress is monitored (outcomes of each step likely not monitored but overall task success is monitored) • Requires fewer conscious processing resources (multi-tasking is possible) • Examples: • Reading familiar texts • Simple arithmetic computations • Driving a manual transmission car after practice

  19. Developmental Considerations • Transition from automatic to controlled processes occurs through • Practice • Acquisition of knowledge base • Acquisition of more efficient strategies

  20. Developmental Considerations • Controlled Attention—ability to sustain focus of mental resources • Early on, young children typically require an adult or more competent individual to help sustain attention (ala Vygotsky) • As CNS matures and more effective strategies are acquired, child is able to manage own focus (pruning, mylination, elaboration)

  21. Developmental Considerations • Metacognition • Executive function • Monitors ongoing mental processing • Controls strategic thinking • Can manage attention • Becomes able to assess performance on relatively simple mental tasks • Tends to develop rapidly across early childhood • Tend to overestimate their knowledge—unclear whether the overestimation is a true overestimation or a desire to please an adult questioner

  22. Developmental Considerations • Theory of Mind (ToM)—Attributing mental states to oneself and other • Appearance—reality distinction (Maynard the cat who wore a dog mask) • Younger children were sure Maynard became a dog • Older children did not succumb to the prank • Recognizing the difference between one’s own feelings and others’ is key to understanding mental states differ • Maturation, experience with language, opportunities to communicate specifically but one’s mental states seem to be linked to development of ToM.

  23. Language Development across Early Childhood • Vocabulary Development occurs through: • Exposure and reinforcement • Repetition • Child’s own analysis and construction of rules and structures

  24. Language Development across Early Childhood • Syntactic Development • Syntactic structure learned through exposure & attempts • Telegraphic speech is an early syntactic form • Noun (agent) verb (predicate); object implied • Verb (predicate) noun (object); agent implied • Noun (agent) noun (object); predicate implied

  25. Language Development across Early Childhood • Syntactic Development • Rules can be overregularized • Child recognizes a rule should be applied • Application of a rule is syntactically appropriate but incorrect (e.g. runrunned instead of ran) • Indicates the child is constructing rules and structures • Errors typically reflect syntactic rather than semantic errors (errors in structure, not meaning)

  26. Language Development across Early Childhood • Pragmatic Development—rules of usage • What cognitive resource or capability might be required? • Perspective taking • Recognizing non-verbal cues and emotional expression • Domains of Pragmatic Development • Turn taking • Context dependent vs. context independent language • Answer obvious questions (Do you have to make that much noise?) • Deference to authority

  27. Language Development across Early Childhood • Bilingual Children • Three models • Simultaneous • Both languages learned simultaneously • Most effective if each parent consistently uses one language • Tend to be more fluent in both • Additive • One language is learned first • Second language is learned following some fluency in first language • Most common in the USA culture

  28. Language Development across Early Childhood • Bilingual Children • Three models • Subtractive • First language is learned to some fluency • Second language is learned as a preferential language or as a replacement for the first language • Cultural norms and bilingualism • Cultures that value bi or multilingualism tend to have either simultaneous or additive bilingualism • Cultures that devalue one of the two languages tend to have subtractive bilingualism • True bilingualism (simultaneous or additive) tends to be related to more astute language users

  29. Early Childhood Education

  30. Early Childhood Education: National Programs • Head Start/ Abecedarian/High-Scope • Ages of service range from birth—five years depending on the program • Typically comprehensive—health, parental involvement, educational • Typically includes home visits for parental education

  31. Early Childhood Education • Factors impacting success rate • Population served • Teacher training (VPK vs. Certified Teachers) • Staff turnover • Comprehensive nature of the program • Staff development • Parent training • Follow-up beyond exit from program (Project Follow Through)

  32. Early Childhood Education • Kindergarten Readiness • DAIL-3 • Motor • Gross Motor—jumping, catching; • Fine Motor—block building, copying’ • Language • Answering personal questions (name, age, sex) • Articulation (for referral to speech assessment) • Concepts • Naming body parts • Counting • Naming parts of a house

  33. Early Childhood Education • Kindergarten Readiness • DAIL-3 • Self-Help • Skills at feeding, grooming, hygiene • Dressing oneself • Social • Play with other children • Compliance with adult-given instructions • Following rules

  34. Early Childhood Education • Educational issues around Readiness Levels • Many of those who test as not ready for kindergarten can be accommodated in regular kindergarten classes • Old-for-grade tends to be more predictive of problems than movement into kindergarten with some additional support • Schools might be reconstrued as being ready for children vs. children as being ready for schools