The Developing Person
Through the Life Span 8e
by Kathleen Stassen Berger
Chapter 9- Early Childhood:
Cognitive Development
PowerPoint Slides developed by
Martin Wolfger and Michael James
Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington
Reviewed by Raquel Henry
Lone Star College, Kingwood
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.
Piaget and Vygotsky
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
Piaget and Vygotsky
• Conservation- The principle that the amount of a
substance remains the same (is conserved) when its
appearance changes.
Piaget and Vygotsky
•Animism- Belief that natural objects
and phenomena are alive.
•Children simultaneously hold rational
and magical ideas.
Piaget and Vygotsky
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).
Piaget and Vygotsky
• 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.
Language as a Tool
• 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
• Theory-theory- The idea that children
attempt to explain everything they see and
hear using theories
• Theory of mind- A person’s theory of what
other people might be thinking.
– In order to have a theory of mind, children must
realize that other people are not necessarily
thinking the same thoughts that they themselves
are.
– That realization is seldom achieved before age 4.
Language
• 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 pronunciation.
• The average child knows about 500 words
at age 2 and more than 10,000 at age 6.
Language
Fast-mapping
•The speedy and sometimes imprecise
way in which children learn new words by
tentatively placing them in mental
categories according to their perceived
meaning.
Language
Language
Basic Grammar
• The grammar of a language includes the
structures, techniques, and rules that
communicate meaning. Word order and word
repetition, prefixes and suffixes, intonation and
emphasis—all are part of grammar.
• Overregularization- The application of rules of
grammar even when exceptions occur, making
the language seem more “regular" than it
actually is.
Learning Two Languages
• Young bilinguals site both languages in the
same areas of the brain but keep them
separate when speaking, not so in adults
• Pronunciation is hard to master after
childhood
• Balanced Bilingual: fluent in two languages,
not favoring one over the other
Early Childhood Education
Child-Centered Programs
• Stress children’s natural inclination to learn through play
rather than by following adult directions.
• 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 literacy-related tasks.
• Reggio Emilia approach- A famous program of earlychildhood education that originated in the town of Reggio
Emilia, Italy; it encourages each child’s creativity in a
carefully designed setting.
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.
Early Childhood Education
Intervention Programs
• Project Head Start- The most widespread
early-childhood education program in the
United States, begun in 1965 and funded by
the federal government.
• At first, the program was thought to be highly
successful at raising children’s intelligence;
ten years later, early gains were said to fade.
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Invitation to the Life Span by Kathleen Stassen Berger