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Chapter 3: The Preschool Years

Chapter 3: The Preschool Years

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Chapter 3: The Preschool Years

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  1. Chapter 3: The Preschool Years Module 3.2 Cognitive Development inthe Preschool Years


  3. PIAGET- A Quick Review • Knowledge is product of direct motor behavior • All children pass through series of stages • Universal • Fixed order 158

  4. What does Piaget tell us? • Quantity and quality of knowledge changes • Focus on change in children’s understanding 158

  5. Preoperational Thinking • Preoperational Stage • Time of stability and change • Use of operations at end of stage 158

  6. Relationship Between Language and Thought • Symbolic function: • Ability to use symbols, words, or object to represent something that is not physically present • Language allows preschoolers to: • Represent actions symbolically • Think beyond present to future • Consider several possibilities at same time 158

  7. Centration What you see is what you think! Which row has more buttons? 158

  8. Incomplete Understanding of Transformation Preoperational children • Unable to envision successive transformations • Ignore middle steps 159

  9. Egocentrism • Preschoolers do not understand that others have different perspectives from their own • Egocentric thought takes two forms • Lack of awareness that others see things from a different physical perspective • Failure to realize that others may hold thoughts, feelings, and points of view that differ from theirs 159

  10. Emergence of Intuitive Thought • Curiosity blossoms and answers to wide variety of questions sought • Often act as authorities on particular topics • Leads preschoolers to believe that they know answers to all kinds of questions, but there is little or no logical basis for this confidence 161

  11. Late Stages of Intuitive Thought • Slowly certain qualities prepare children for more sophisticated forms of reasoning • Begin to understand the notion of functionality • Begin to show an awareness of the concept of identity 161

  12. Positive Masterful observer Useful way to consider progressive advances in child cognition Negative More recent experimental work suggests higher child performance on tasks involving conservation, reversibility, transformation, and ability to count Contentions about continuity of development as theorized in Piaget’s stages Evaluating Piaget’s Approach 161

  13. Review and Apply REVIEW • According to Piaget, children in the preoperational stage develop symbolic function, a qualitative change in their thinking that is the foundation of further cognitive advances. • Preoperational children are hampered by a tendency toward egocentric thought. • Recent developmentalists, while acknowledging Piaget’s gifts and contributions, take issue with his underestimation of preschoolers’ capabilities. 162

  14. Review and Apply APPLY • Do you think it is possible to break a preschooler’s habit of egocentric thought by directly teaching him to take another person’s point of view? Would showing him a picture of himself “hidden” behind a chair change his thinking? Why? 162


  16. Focus of Approaches • Changes in kinds of “mental programs” that children use when approaching problems • Changes analogous to way computer program becomes more sophisticated as a programmer modifies it on basis of experience 163

  17. Two Approaches • Understanding numbers • Memory development 163

  18. 1, 2, 3, 7…11-T-hundred! How can we tell when a preschooler knows how to count?

  19. You must remember this…maybe! • Recollections of events are sometimes, but not always, accurate • Typically accurate in responses to open-ended questions • Partly determined by how soon memories are assessed • Affected by cultural factors • Autobiographical memory • Largely inaccurate before age 3 • Not all last into later life 163

  20. Preschoolers’ memories of familiar events often organized in scripts Scripts become more elaborate with age Frequently repeated events meld into scripts Particular instances of scripted event are recalled with less accuracy than those that are unscripted in memory Why are some preschool memories inaccurate? 163

  21. Any other causes of inaccuracies? • Difficulty describing certain kinds of information, such as complex causal relationships, may oversimplify recollections 163

  22. SHE did it…I think!!Children’s Eyewitness Testimony • Forensic developmental psychology • Embellishment characteristic of fragility, impressionability, and inaccuracy of memory • Memories susceptible to suggestions of adults asking them questions, especially repeatedly • Children more prone to make inaccurate inferences about reasons behind others’ behavior and are less able to draw appropriate conclusions based on their knowledge of a situation • Error rate is heightened when same question is asked repeatedly 164

  23. PRO Relies on well-defined testable, processes which alternative approaches traditionally have paid little attention Provides a clear, logical, and full account of cognitive development CON Focuses on series of single, individual cognitive processes Individual sequence of processes never adequately paint whole, comprehensive picture of cognitive development Information Processing in Perspective 164

  24. Vygotsky’s View of Cognitive Development • Cognition result of social interactions in which children learn through guided participation • Children gradually grow intellectually and begin to function on their own because of assistance that adult and peer partners provide 165

  25. Culture and Society Influences • Nature of the partnership between developing children and adults and peers determined largely by cultural and societal factors 165

  26. Zone of Proximal Development • Cognition increases through exposure to information that is new enough to be intriguing, but not too difficult • Greater improvement with help = greater increases in zone of proximal development 165

  27. Scaffolding • Support for learning and problem solving that encourages independence and growth • Aids in development of overall cognitive abilities 166

  28. Cultural Tools • Actual, physical items or intellectual and conceptual framework for solving problems • Language • Alphabetical and numbering schemes • Mathematical and scientific systems • Religious systems 166

  29. PRO Increasingly influential in the last decade Helps explain growing body of research about importance of social interaction in promoting cognitive development Consistent with growing body of multicultural and cross-cultural research CON Lack of precision in conceptualization of cognitive growth Sparse information about attention and memory develop and how children’s natural cognitive capabilities unfold Assessing Vygotsky’s Perspective 166

  30. Review and Apply REVIEW • Proponents of information processing approaches argue that quantitative changes in children’s processing skills largely account for their cognitive development. • Instead of focusing on children’s cognitive limitations, developmentalists using an information processing approach focus on the cognitive advances that enable children to develop considerable abilities. • Vygotsky believed that children develop cognitively within a context of culture and society. His theory includes the concepts of zone of proximal development and scaffolding. 167

  31. Review and Apply APPLY • Do you agree with the view that information processing approaches see too many trees and lose sight of the forest? Or do you think that Piaget saw too much forest without accounting for enough trees? Explain. • In what ways have educators and others begun to apply Vygotsky’s ideas in schools and communities? Should governments take an active role in this? 167


  33. Language Development During preschool years: • Sentence length increases at a steady pace • Syntax doubles each month • Enormous leaps in number of words used through fast mapping 168

  34. What is fast mapping? • New words are associated with their meaning after only brief encounter • By age 6, the average child has a vocabulary of around 14,000 words • Vocabulary acquired at rate of nearly one new word every 2 hours, 24 hours a day 169

  35. Preschool Language on the Grow • Use plurals and possessive forms of nouns • Employ the past tense • Use articles • Ask, and answer, complex questions • Extend appropriate formation of words to new words 169

  36. Learning what is not said… • Preschoolers also learn what cannot be said as they acquire principles of grammar • Although they still make frequent mistakes, 3-year-olds • Follow principles of grammar most of time • Are correct in their grammatical constructions more than 90 percent of time 169

  37. Do you ever talk to yourself?

  38. I’m not talking to YOU… Private Speech of Children • Speech by children that is spoken and directed to themselves • Performs important function. • Serves to try out ideas, acting as sounding board • Facilitates children’s thinking and helps them control their behavior • Serves an important social function 169

  39. What about practical communication? • Pragmatics is the aspect of language relating to communicating effectively and appropriately with others • Helps children to understand the basics of conversations • Turn-taking • Sticking to a topic • What should and should not be said, according to the conventions of society • Use of different language in various settings 169

  40. Social Speech • Before the age of 3: • Speak only for their own entertainment • Apparently unaware if anyone else can understand • During preschool years: • Begin to direct their speech to others • Want others to listen • Become frustrated when they cannot make themselves understood • Begin to adapt their speech to others through pragmatics 169

  41. What do children learn from television? What do children learn from the media? Learning from the Media 170

  42. Saying No to the Show American Academy of Pediatrics • Recommends that exposure to television should be limited • Suggests that until age of 2, children watch no television, and after that age, no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming each day 170

  43. What are the limits of preschoolers’ “television literacy”? Preschool children • Often do not fully understand plots • Unable to recall significant story details • Make limited and often erroneous inferences about motivations • Difficulty separating fantasy from reality • Not able to critically understand and evaluate advertising messages 170

  44. So…would you let your young child watch?

  45. Taking the pre out of preschool • Increasing number of children in out-of-home care • Some benefits to educational activities before formal schooling • Cognitive and social benefits from high quality preschool experiences 171

  46. Varieties of Early Education • Child care centers • Family child care programs • Preschools • Montessori • Reggio Emilia • School-age child care 171

  47. How effective are early education programs? Children in EE programs • Are more verbally fluent, show memory and comprehension advantages, and achieve higher IQ scores than at-home children • Are more self-confident, independent, and knowledgeable about social world in which they live than those who do not participate 172

  48. Any downside? Not all outcomes of outside-the-home care are positive Children in child care: • Are found to be less polite, less compliant, less respectful of adults, and sometimes more competitive and aggressive than their peers • Have a slightly higher likelihood of being disruptive in class extending through the sixth grade (when spending 10+ weeks) • Poor programs actually may harm children 172

  49. What makes a good program great? Characteristics of Quality Child Care • Providers are well trained • Appropriate overall size and ratio of care providers to children. • Curriculum is carefully planned and coordinated among teachers • Language environment is rich • Caregivers are sensitive to children’s emotional and social needs • Materials and activities are age appropriate • Basic health and safety standards are followed 172

  50. Why does the US lag behind? • No coordinated national policy on preschool education • Decisions about education have traditionally been left to states and local school districts • No tradition of teaching preschoolers • Status of preschools in United States is traditionally low 173