Chapter 9- Early Childhood:Cognitive Development Piaget and

Chapter 9- Early Childhood:Cognitive Development
Piaget and Vygotsky
Piaget: Preoperational Thought
Preoperational means “before (pre) logical operations (reasoning processes).”
The child’s verbal ability permits symbolic thinking.
Language frees the child from the limits of sensorimotor experience.
Four Limitations of Preoperational Thought
Centration- a young child focuses (centers) on one idea, excluding all others.
Egocentrism- “self-centeredness”
Focus on appearance- a thing is whatever it appears to be
Static reasoning- belief that the world is unchanging
Irreversibility- what is done cannot be undone
Conservation- The principle that the amount of a substance remains the same (is conserved)
when its appearance changes.
Vygotsky: Social Learning
Every aspect of children’s cognitive development is embedded in the social context.
Guided participation- process by which people learn from others who guide their
experiences and explorations (mentor).
Zone of proximal development (ZPD)-Vygotsky’s term for the skills—cognitive as well as
physical—that a person can exercise only with assistance, not yet independently.
Scaffolding- Temporary support that is tailored to a learner’s needs and abilities and aimed
at helping the learner master the next task in a given learning process.
Private speech- The internal dialogue that occurs when people talk to themselves (either
silently or out loud).
Social mediation- Human interaction that expands and advances understanding, often
through words that one person uses to explain something to another.
Children’s Theories
Language is pivotal to every kind of cognition in early childhood.
Early childhood is a sensitive period, the best time to master vocabulary, grammar, and
The average child knows about 500 words at age 2 and more than 10,000 at age 6.
The speedy and sometimes imprecise way in which children learn new words by tentatively
placing them in mental categories according to their perceived meaning.
Child-Centered Programs
Stress children’s natural inclination to learn through play rather than by following adult
Show the influence of Vygotsky, who thought that children learn from other children and
through cultural practices that structure life.
Montessori schools emphasize individual pride and accomplishment, presenting literacyrelated tasks.
Reggio Emilia approach- A famous program of early-childhood education that originated in
the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy; it encourages each child’s creativity in a carefully designed
Early Childhood Education
Teacher-Directed Programs
Stress academic subjects taught by a teacher to an entire class.
Children learn letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, as well as how to listen to the teacher and
sit quietly.
Make a clear distinction between work and play.
Are much less expensive, since the child/adult ratio can be higher.