Early Childhood: Cognitive Development How do young children begin to think?

Early Childhood:
Cognitive Development
How do young children begin to think?
Piaget – Preoperational thought
 Development of symbolic thought and language
 Frees child from limits of sensorimotor experience
 Egocentrism – “self-centeredness”
 Seeing the world from your own point of view
 Conservation of matter
Vygotsky – Social learning
 Focus on sociocultural aspects
 Guided participation
 E.g. Mentor
 Other children
What is the zone of Proximal development?
 Items child can perform with assistance, but not on her own.
How can scaffolding help a child?
 Active help with learning
 E.g. Parent providing active help with math homework
 Not doing it for him
 Not having him do it all himself
Do you remember?
 At stage of Piaget’s theory do children develop symbolic
 What is an example of symbolic thinking?
 What is an example of egocentrism?
 What is an example of the conservation of matter?
 What does Vygotsky’s social learning focus on?
 How does scaffolding and the zone of proximal development
work together?
What is private speech?
 Internal dialogue
 Aids thinking & self-reflection
 Used by preschoolers to explain things to themselves
 To be encouraged
Children’s Theories
 Theory-Theory
 Theory of the mind
What is Theory-Theory?
 Children attempt to explain everything
 What is the purpose of something
 Why? = How does it affect me?
 Cause
What is the theory of the mind?
 Ability to understand what someone else is thinking
 Understanding that other people may not be thinking the
same thoughts as you are.
 Lying
 Confusing what they know now with:
 What they knew earlier
 What someone else might think
 Premier accomplishment in early childhood
 Vocabulary explosion by fastmapping
 Adding words to a category without fully understanding it
 E.g. Zebra = a horse with stripes
Do you remember?
 How do children use private speech?
 When children ask “Why?”, what are they often asking?
 What is the concept of the theory of the mind?
 How does fastmapping enable children to organize material?
Early Childhood Education
Child-centered programs
 Stress child’s development and growth
 Montessori schools
 Learn through play – not following adult directions
 Children learn from other children
Montessori schools
 Maria Montessori
 Individual activity (mats)
 Each child progresses at their own rate
 “Play” activities teach Fine motor development, numbers,
math, letters, vocabulary
Teacher centered programs
 Academic subjects
 Letters, numbers, shapes, colors
 1 teacher to entire class
 Clear distinction between work and play
Head Start
 Preschool education program
 Focused on disadvantaged (low income) children
 More likely to attend college and stay off welfare
Do you remember?
 What is the difference between child centered programs and
teacher centered programs?
 What is an example of a child centered program?
 What is the effect of Head Start program?