EDE 301
Growth and Development
What you need to know
to help young children learn
Dr. Will Mosier
Professor-Wright State University
Five Basic Human Drives
 Activity
 Exploration
 Manipulation
 Production
 Social
Critical facts of development in the
first three years of life
50% of all human learning occurs in the first
three years of life
Rich conversation will stimulate language
centers in the brain to build language
Holding a crying infant is not “spoiling”:
Humans have a need for tactile stimulation in
the first year of life
Remember to nurture autonomy after age one
What do young children need?
To feel safe
To be allowed the freedom to explore
To play
Girls & boys have different patterns of growth
& development (genetic factors)
Freedom of expression through art (Avoid
asking “What is it?”)
Opportunities to exercise autonomy
How do young children think?
 Perception-based
 Unidimensional thinking
 Irreversibility
 Transductive reasoning
 Egocentrism
What young children need to do
Young children need the opportunity to problemsolve: puzzles, blocks, counting games, cooking
experiences, scientific experiments
Young children need elaborate dramatic play areas
Young children need to be asked questions that
encourage language development(open-ended
questions) & questions that build on memory &
perception (What did you do yesterday? What are
you going to do tonight? How is a dog different from
a cat?)
Young children need assistance in reflecting on &
using words to express their feelings
We must respect the unique
learning style of each young child
80% of children are predominately visual
10% of children are predominately auditory
10% of children are predominately tactilekinesthetic learners
Each learning style must be respected
How do play and cognition go
A circular relationship exists between play,
intelligence, creativity and language
Play enhances language-language increases
intelligence-intellectual growth results in more
complex play skills
The integration of work & play (make-believe)
Bilingual child development programs are ideal for
enhancing language development, building
communicative competence & modeling respect for
The best way to provide a readiness for reading is to
read to a child
The relationship between
symbolic thought & play
 There
is a complex relationship
between play & cognition
 Play
enhances languagelanguage
increases intelligenceintellectual
growth results in more complex play
Relationship between Play & Cognition
Developmental play capacities
of young children
(percentage & type of playtime activity related to age)
2 Sensorimotor
3 Sensorimotor
4 Sensorimotor
5 Sensorimotor Symbolic
6 Sensorimotor Symbolic
7 Games
with rules (reading
Age line of social stages
Age 0
Unoccupied Solitary Onlooker Parallel
behavior independent
7 years
Associative Cooperative Games
Sociodramatic play
Social stages of development
(Partern, 1971)
Stage 1 (Unoccupied Behavior)
– The child is not actively playing, but
occupies himself with watching anything
that happens to be of momentary interest
– When there is nothing exciting to observe,
he/she plays with own body, gets on and off
chairs, just stands around, follows an adult,
or sits in one spot glancing around studying
the immediate environment
Social stages of development
Stage 2, (Solitary independent play)
– The child plays alone, independently with
toys that are different from those used by
children within speaking distance and
makes no effort to get close to other
– Child pursues own activity without
reference to what others are doing (Partern, 1971)
Social stages of development
Stage 3 (Onlooker)
– The child spends most of his time watching other
children play
– Child often talks to the children being observing,
asks questions, or gives suggestions, but does not
overtly enter into their play
– This type of play differs from the unoccupied in
that the onlooker is definitely observing particular
groups of children rather than just anything that
happens to be exciting
– The child stands or sits within speaking distance of
the group so that he can see and hear everything
that takes place (Partern, 1971)
Social stages of development
Stage 4 (Parallel play activity)
– The child plays independently, but the activity
he chooses naturally brings him among other
– Child plays with toys that are like those the
children around him are using but he plays with
the toy as he sees fit and does not try to
influence or modify the activity of the children
near him
– Child plays beside rather than with other
– There is no attempt to control the coming or
going of other children in the group (Partern, 1971) 16
Social stages of development
Stage 5 (Associative play)
The child plays with other children
The conversation addresses the common activity
There is a borrowing and loaning of play materials
Following one another with objects
There are mild attempts to control which children
may or may not play in the group
– All group members engage in similar activity
– There is no division of labor
– There is no organized group activity focused on
any material goal or product (Partern, 1971)
Social stages of development
Stage 5 - Associative play
– The children do not subordinate their individual
interest to that of the group
– Each child acts as he wishes
– Conversations with other children indicate child’s
interest is primarily in association with others, not
in activity
– Occasionally, two or three children may engage in
no activity of any duration, but are merely doing
whatever happens to draw the attention of any of
(Partern, 1971)
Social stages of development
Stage 6 (Cooperative play)
[organized supplementary play]
– The child plays in a group that is organized for:
making some material product
striving to attain some competitive goal
dramatizing situations of adults and group life
playing formal games
– There is a marked sense of belonging to the group
– The control of the group situation is in the hands of one or
two members who direct the activity of the others
– The goal, as well as the method of attaining it, necessitates a
division of labor, taking of different roles by the various
group members and organization of activity so that the
efforts of one child are supplemented by those of another
(Partern, 1971)
How do we nurture positive social
behavior in young children?
We must create safe environments that nurture
active play that stimulates problem-solving abilities
within a context of social competence
We must provide experiences and activities that are
process-oriented not product-oriented
(Experimentation & self-expression should be
emphasized, without regard to an end product)
Teacher-directed art projects that result in all
children producing the same finished product is
restrictive and developmentally inappropriate
Developmentally appropriate ways to
nurture social competence
Teach kindness and reduce aggressive
behavior by example
Model the behavior you want children to
Young children respond best to messages
presented in first-person singular (Running is
an outside activity. I walk inside.) As opposed
to: “Stop running” or “We don’t run inside”.
A positive attitude is the key to solving
behavior problems in your center
What is
Early Childhood Development?
The process by which young children
change, over time, both quantitatively &
 Children don’t just acquire more
knowledge, social skill, physical
coordination as they age, their thinking
& behavior becomes qualitatively
different over time
Understanding child development is
essential for effective teaching
Each child learns & behaves in a unique
 Many children have challenging
conditions & special needs
 Variations in language skill,
communication style, self-perception &
physical competence will influence
Children think & act differently
from adults
The things that make young children
laugh & cry are unique and often
 Their interests and motivations are
reflective of their level of developmental
 They have a strong “need” to run,
throw things, scream, giggle --PLAY
Understanding the thinking & behavior of young
children is critical for designing developmentally
appropriate curriculum
Without a deep understanding of what young
children are like, adults will have difficulty
Communicating effectively with them
Comforting them appropriately
Helping them to develop autonomy
Helping them develop a love for learning
Helping them develop effective problem-solving
Helping them develop social competence
Observing young children at play is the
cornerstone of effective
early childhood education
Curriculum planning and behavioral
interventions should be based on careful
observation of the developmental needs of
young children
Overlooking critical characteristics of child
development can lead to inappropriate
Focused observation can identify potential
learning problems, causes, & useful remediation
Be sensitive to variations in
No two children are exactly alike
 Behavior characteristics vary due to:
• Temperament
• Gender
• Socioeconomic status
• Culture
Appreciate Diversity
African-Americans, Latinos, Asian
Americans, & Native Americans
constitute 33% of the U.S. population
 By 2020, those who are “labeled”
minorities will represent over 50% of
the population in the U.S.
A wealth of research exists to guide our
thinking about how children learn
Child development research can guide teachers:
To interact with children in ways that will
promote learning & prosocial behavior
In creating developmentally appropriate
Identify children with special needs
To appreciate diversity & distinguish cultural
differences from developmental problems
Conducting child development research
Quantitative research: children are
observed and their behavior is tallied or
rated numerically(quantified)
 Qualitative research: children are
observed and a detailed narrative
describes what is observed within a
specific environmental context
Studying young children
in your own classroom
Observing young children in an organized manner can
provide you with information useful for curriculum
planning: checklists of development & behavior
Event sampling: noting every time a particular
behavior is observed
Time sampling: observing children at regular intervals,
recording behavior observed
Anecdotal Record: taking brief notes of observations
of behavior or events(looking for patterns of behavior)
Case Study: an accumulation & interpretation of info
about a child that might include conclusions & 31
The Relationship between
Theory & Practice
It is a myth that theory is abstract & of
little value in the “real world”. Child
development theory should guide
professional practice. The
developmentally appropriate practices
derived from research are very specific
and useful.
 Research helps to clarify how children:
grow, learn, think, & behave
Developing a strong knowledge base for ECE
What we know about
child growth & development
Human traits are determined by a complex
process of environmental influences
interacting with genetically predisposing
All behavior is sustained due to
We assimilate new ideas based on prior
learning & adjust prior thinking to
accommodate new information
Social interaction has a powerful influence
over learning
An eclectic view helps us understand how
the research fits together
Both genetics & maturation have a powerful effect on
learning & behavior (twin studies)
Genetically predetermined personality traits TEND TO
persist into adulthood. However, although unlikely,
personality can change
Probable genetic linked factors: activity level, attention
span, introversion/extroversion, impulsivity, mental
health propensity
There is a heritability ratio to IQ –plasticity of the
brain(genetics: 49% / environment: 51%)
Environment is the most critical element in child
development (It is the one factor we can influence.)
How research fits together
If a child’s preferred behavior is rewarded
systematically, via an operant conditioning process, it is
likely that it will occur again (It is a gradual process)
Punishment should be avoided with children
Displaying patience with young children is very
Children are most apt to learn behavior that they
observe in others(model desired behavior)
Praise tends to inhibit learning, creativity & healthy
Emotional maturity results from adequate nurturing &
freedom provided in the first 3 years of life
How research fits together
Emotionally healthy babies come to view the world as
safe & predictable (Grow up to be more trusting in
relationships/feel more emotionally secure)
Children who do not develop this trust may be
impaired from entering into healthy trusting
relationships as adults
A child who is overly restricted from attempts at
autonomy will develop self-doubt
Intellectual functioning is extremely complex
Learning involves intricate internal mental actions
Learning experiences should have elements of both
familiarity & novelty
How research fits together
Intellectual development involves connecting
language & thinking
 Language is a fundamental tool for constructing
 Thought is enhanced through speaking
 Language is a powerful tool for learning
 Social interaction facilitates the learning
 A quiet classroom where children sit & listen is
not conducive to optimal learning
Applying Research to Practice
Some characteristics are genetically predisposed such
as interpersonal style & temperament
Teachers should adapt the learning environment to the
learning style of young children rather than expect
young children to adapt to the classroom
Teachers should use modeling & positive reinforcement
to influence young children’s behavior
Children are predisposed to “do as you do rather than
do as you say” (Adults should model desirable behavior)
Adults must be responsive to infant need for attention
Adults must nurture toddler autonomy & initiative
Applying Research to Practice
Teachers should pose challenges that
stimulate problem-solving & decisionmaking skills
 Teachers should “scaffold” learning by
using questions, hints, & prompts as
“advanced organizers” within a child’s level
of developmental readiness to stimulate
problem-solving skill
Theories of child development
Emotional development stems from an
ability to resolve key conflicts between
desires and impulses and pressures
from the outside world. Adults can
promote children’s emotional health by
providing appropriate opportunities for
the gratification of drives.
Human traits are acquired through
experiences within the environment.
Adults can purposefully shape
desired learning and behavior
through positive reinforcement. 41
Theories of child development
Human traits are determined
primarily by genetics. Children
simply mature with age; environment plays a secondary role.
Intellectual development is internal
and uniquely personal. Knowledge
is conducted actively by learners
who struggle to make sense out of
experience. Learners assimilate
new ideas into what they already
know, but also adjust previous
thinking to accommodate new
Theories of child development
Adults and peers can “scaffold”
children’s learning by asking
questions or challenging thinking.
Through social interaction and
verbalization, children construct
knowledge of the world.
Development is influenced by the
personal, social, and political systems
within which children live. Interactions
between family, school, community,
social and political systems and the
individual child will determine
development outcomes.
Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development
Task difficulty level
Very Difficult
The task is too difficult for the student to perform at all. Direct intervention
from teacher or “expert” peer is needed.
“Zone of Proximal Development” The task requires thinking just above a
student’s level of current mastery. This is the zone in which a student can
learn with help from others
The task is very simple for an individual student. No help is needed from
the teacher. A student regulates own behavior in this zone. Little new
knowledge is constructed in this zone.
Very Simple
Scaffolding of learning The zone of proximal development is a period during
problem-solving when a task is just beyond a child’s level of mastery. This is a time
when an indirect prompt or question can help children solve the problem independently
(Vygotsky, 1978)
Day care
play area
social services
Various ecological systems interact with each other to influence child development (Bronfenbrenner
Prenatal Development
Genetics & experience interact to affect who a
child will become. However, physical, social, &
emotional traits are passed from each parent to
the child through genes
Genes are composed of deoxyribonucleic acid &
are ordered along chromosomes in the nucleus
of each human cell
Typical cells contain 46 chromosomes that carry
genetic information for influencing
Prenatal Development (continued)
Sperm & egg cells only contain 23
A fertilized egg (zygote) contains 23
chromosomes from each parent (This
determines what is uniquely inherited
from each side of the family.)
The process of mitosis ensures the
blending of genes
Prenatal development
Conception through the first two weeks: Ovum period
miscarriages (spontaneous abortions) are common
Two – eight weeks: embryonic period (length: 1.5 in)
body organs, facial features, placenta, umbilical cord,
amnionic sack, & rudimentary arms & legs form
Eight weeks – birth: fetal period (brain development is
most rapid, eyes open & close, thumb sucking occurs)
The period of least congenital risk.
Environmental hazards, congenital anomalies, genetic
disorders, & oxygen deprivation at birth can impede
normal development
Birth of an infant
In most societies children are born outside of
a hospital with a midwife
Fear-reduction techniques can reduce the use
of medication during labor & delivery
Some genetic disorders are more prevalent in
certain ethnic groups: sickle-cell anemia &
Tay-Sachs disease
Genetic testing can determine the presence
of many disorders (amniocentesis & chorionic
villus biopsy)
Reflexes influence newborn development
Grasp reflex: disappears with the ability to
voluntarily grasp objects (@ 4th month)
Moro reflex: arms outstretched then pulled
toward body in response to sudden noise or
movement (disappears by 5th month)
Rooting reflex: when object is brushed against
cheek, head turns toward object & mouth opens
(disappears @ 3rd month)
Sucking reflex: when object comes in contact
with mouth or during sleep state – reflex is
stimulated (disappears after voluntary control
over sucking appears @3rd month)
Step reflex: tendency to flex leg when pressure
is applied to bottom of foot (disappears @ 3rd
Fencer pose: tendency to stretch-out one arm
holding the opposite arm above mid-chest
while flexing one leg & extending the other51
Newborn Needs
Newborns habituate to familiar sights &
Once they come to know it, they become less
interested in it & seek new stimulation
Perceptual stimuli should be made available
allowing for babies to become familiar with
the stimuli
Follow a baby’s lead for when he/she wants
more novel exposure
Avoid over-stimulation, but provide adequate
Infant Physical Development
Physical & perceptual skills are acquired
in a relatively fixed order (babies sit
before they stand, stand before they
walk, & walk before they run)
 Brain becomes dense & develops more
complex connections than at any other
stage of development
Motor Developmental Milestones
1 mo: able to raise chin up off of bed
2 mo: able to raise chest when prone
3 mo: able to sit with support
3 mo: bats at objects
6 mo: reaches for and grasps objects
7 mo: able to sit unassisted
9 mo: able to stand with support
10mo: able to creep
10-14mo: able to stand alone
12-15mo: able to walk alone
13 mo: able to walk up stairs
26 mo: able to walk down stairs
Grasping Ability
 20wks:
 20wks:
 24wks:
 28wks:
 52wks:
swipes at objects without contact
swipes at objects/makes contact
attempts to grasp/not well coordinated
grasps objects between finger & palm
squeezes objects between fingers &
picks up objects with pincer grasp
Cognitive Development in Infancy
(developmentally appropriate interventions)
The human face is an infants preferred object to
Older infants should be allowed to explore the
floor, not in walker
Carrying non-ambulatory infants stimulates
development and strengthens emotional bond
Normal 3-yr-old has twice the number of
synaptic connections among brain cells than
Adequate infant stimulation & physical contact
are needed to create & maintain these brain56 cell
Cognitive Development in Infancy
(developmentally appropriate interventions)
Language stimulation: talking, singing, reading
to, & engaging in direct play with infants
enhances synaptic connections
Over-stimulation can impede neural
Physical touch & responding quickly to cries
enhance feelings of security & protect brain
tissue from over-stimulation
Early intervention & adaptations can offset
some developmental disabilities (This is why
early diagnosis is vital for optimal development
of child’s potential.)
Cognitive Development in Infancy
(developmentally appropriate activities)
Malnutrition, environmental deprivation, genetic &
congenital disorders can interrupt cognitive
Early intervention can offset some of the negative
impact of these influences
Goal: Identify any challenging condition that might
need special intervention
Provide experiences that facilitate developing an
understanding of cause & effect & action/reaction:
peek-a-boo, hiding games, drop the object)
Use learning tools (toys) that stimulate the senses:
(action toys: sound toys, balls)
Stages of Babbling
“Fussy” sounds: crying-like sounds that are not true
Vowel cooing: long strings of open vowel sounds (e.g.,
“ooooooh”, “aaaaaah”)
Consonant cooing: strings of consonant-like sounds
(e.g., “bbb”, “ggg”)
Lallations: long strings of consonant-vowel-consonant
sounds (dadadada, mamamama, babababa)
Shortened lallations: shorter consonant-vowelconsonant sounds (dada, mama, papa)
Expressive jargon sounds: long expressive babbles that
sound identical, in intonation to adult speech
Learning two Languages at
the same time
Children raised in a bilingual home put the words they
learn from two languages into one mental dictionary
This results in toddlers from bilingual homes often
engaging in “language switching” (However this is not
an indication that any damage to language competence
will result from this practice.)
In fact, by age 4, bilingual children reach a level of
cognitive development that permits them to effectively
separate multiple languages at the same time
The challenge of sorting-out the rules of two or more
languages is cognitively challenging in a positive way
Language Acquisition
By the second half of the first year of life,
babies acquire receptive language. This is long
before they are able to talk. Adults should
provide infants with a language-rich
Talking directly to babies should begin at birth.
Conversation directed toward infants
stimulates language centers in the brain &
promote later development of communicative
Language Acquisition
Responding quickly to infant utterances &
smiling communicates the power of social
interchanges & reinforces the infant for refining
communicative ability.
The first “true” words appear @ 12-months
Usually, first words are names of objects that
have action-reaction stimulation (e.g., ball), or
words with social meaning (e.g., NO, bye-bye)
Best Practice Activity
Stimulate turn-taking conversation
with objects
Handing objects back and forth to
an infant/toddler teaches the
social rules of communication
Infant Temperament
Active: Infant demonstrates a need for constant
activity. Wiggles & bangs objects, seeks
frequent stimulation
Bold: Initiates interaction with adults, risktaking in exploration & play
“Difficult”: Expresses upset forcefully,
demonstrates negative reactions to change, not
easily consoled when crying
“Easy”: Smiles frequently, adjusts happily to
change, no separation anxiety
Fearful: Is easily frightened by novel situations
Shy: Is reticent to interact with others, tends to
be quiet & less vocal
Slow-to-warm-up: Exhibits clinging behavior,
demonstrates a less positive affect
Timid: Demonstrates stranger anxiety, takes
less initiative, is more cautious in exploration &
Egocentrism in Infancy
The inability to understand the perspective of others
The predominate characteristic influencing social
relationships during infancy
Infants assume that they are the center of the universe
This characteristic does not inhibit the development of
kindness toward others & sharing
During infancy, egocentrism is a cognitive trait, not a
personality flaw
Egocentric behavior should be tolerated during infancy
(Infants should NOT be forced to display cooperative
Social/Emotional Development
in Infants
Infants form early attachments to significant adults
(significant others)
Early attachments are critical to later ability to form
intimate relationships
It is crucial to respond to infant cries for attention as
soon as possible
The opposite is true for the second year of life. A
toddler’s need to strive for a sense of autonomy must
be allowed(tolerated).
Social/Emotional Development
in Infants (continued)
Tolerating assertive behavior & allowing freedom of
choice are critical to healthy development.
An infant’s social interactions are influenced by
genetically predisposed temperament.
Raising babies requires significant patience &
If your goal is to have a happy child who grows up to
be a happy adult - engage in up-close, face-to-face,
eye-to-eye interactions with the infant & demonstrate
expressions of happiness-frequently!
Social/Emotional Development
in Infants (continued)
React quickly to upset & initiate positive
touching (snuggling, holding, bouncing) &
distract with physical play (This is especially
vital for special needs infants.)
 Provide a soothing & predictable, yet
stimulating environment (This is especially vital
for special needs infants.)
 Modeling a positive affect, kindness, & sharing
will help infants develop positive emotions &
social skills
Development from two-five
How do young children change physically, from
ages 2 thru 5?
 What are the major gross motor abilities that
emerge during this period?
 How do the major gross motor abilities develop
through this period?
 How does perceptual development affect fine
motor skills from ages 2-5?
Ages 2-5 (Continued)
How do males & females differ in motor
development during this period?
 What can teachers do to adapt the
classroom environment to support motor
development of children with special
 What types of conversation are most
effective to promote artistic development
that grows out of fine motor expression?
Gross Motor Abilities of Young
Children ages 2-5
Run with both feet leaving the ground at the
same time
Hop on one foot for at least 10 repetitions
Gallop (using one lead foot)
Swing on a swing independently
Throw a ball stepping forward with the leg
opposite the throwing arm
Catch a ball with one hand
Riding a tricycle with pedals
Fine Motor Abilities of Young
Children ages 2-5
Self-help skills such as buttoning, zipping, &
eating with utensils (to include: spreading
food with a knife)
 Cut with scissors
 Grasp with thumb & index finger grip
 Write ones own name
 Create representational drawings
 Sculpt with clay
Stages of Drawing
in Early Childhood
Scribbling---controlled circular strokes--discrete shapes
 This evolves as children learn to use pincer
grasp instead of fist grasp & place arm on
table as they draw
 Drawing can be a valuable outlet for creative
and emotional expression
Developmental stages of drawing
1-2 years: random scribble marks
simply as a sensorimotor activity
Developmental stages of drawing
2-21/2 years: controlled scribbling. The child
begins to develop some control of his fine motor
abilities, and the scribbles gain some direction
and control. After some experience with
controlled scribbling, a child may name his
picture a “motorcycle” or a “big wheel”,
although there appears to be no resemblance.
This is an intellectual accomplishment for the
child, an indication that he is taking his first
step toward being able to do representation
Developmental stages of drawing
2 1/2 -3 years: the face. The
next mayor development is for
the circle to become a face
3 ½ -4 years: arms and legs. The circle
“person” develops sticks arms and legs,
which protrude from the circle, or the
head; there is no body yet
4 years: the body. The human figure
begins to acquire a body. Gradually
more and more body parts are added
(hands, feet, hair, ears, etc.)
Developmental stages of drawing
5 years: the floating house: First
“house” drawings usually resemble a
face, with windows placed like eyes
and door like a mouth. These first
houses are usually somewhere in the
middle of the paper and seem to be
floating in space
5 ½ - 6 years: the house on a bottom
line. The bottom of the paper is used
as a baseline and the house rests on it
Developmental stages of drawing
5 ½ -6 years: a baseline supports
the house. A baseline appears
within the drawing and the house
rests on it
6 -7 years: two-dimensional drawing.
The baseline begins to take on the
quality of a horizon, which indicates
the child’s awareness of twodimensional space
Gender differences
in motor development
Boys tend to lose “baby” fat and acquire increased
muscle tone more quickly than girls
Boys tend to be larger than girls at this stage
Girls tend to have more competent fine motor skill
(The brain areas responsible for perceptual-motor
ability are more fully developed in females at this
stage of development.)
However, there is great variability in individual
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Any typically active young child may be
mislabeled as hyperactive by uninformed
 Don’t confuse high activity level with ADHD
Classic Signs:
 Inability to sustain focused attention
 Cognitive or physical restlessness
 Exaggerated distractibility
Classroom interventions that
support learning in kids with ADHD
Provide extended periods of time & adequate
space for active motor play
Keep periods that require “sitting still” brief
Keep waiting periods brief
Provide a predictable schedule (maintain
Avoid unexpected changes
Ignore “minor” disruptiveness
Be consistent with enforcing rules (use logical
consequences) Don’t use punishment or verbal
The Effects of Early Intervention
Early intervention of special needs is
 To minimize the negative effects of
developmental delays, intervention
strategies must be initiated during
 However, it is never too late for
Promoting artistic development:
one component of fine motor skill
Adults talking with children, in an appropriate manner
about their drawings, not only can promote artistic
development, it can also facilitate the expression of
thoughts & feelings
Some adult-child interactions can, actually, stifle
artistic expression
Questioning a child’s art work can be destructive.
Positive, as well as negative evaluation can,
potentially, inhibit artistic development!
Never compare children’s efforts and avoid praise
How should adults interact with young
children to promote artistic development?
First rule of thumb: Say NOTHING!
 Demonstrate enthusiasm by smiling
 Allow for the child to initiate a discussion
 Adults should restrict comments to references
to the media, the theme, composition
 Avoid evaluation related to quality.
 Any judgment should be limited to accepting
responsibility for your reaction. (e.g.:“I like…”
Motor Development: key points
Children acquire gross motor & fine motor skills in a
predictable sequence
Climbing, running, catching, throwing, & practicing
balancing (using a balance beam) promote motor
development and therefore, should be accepted as
developmentally necessary activities
Drawing, painting, sculpting with clay, cutting,
stacking blocks, working with puzzles & other
manipulatives, and looking at picture books should be
facilitated daily to promote fine motor development
The arts should be integrated into all components of
the curriculum
Key Points about
Motor Development (Continued)
Because motor development can vary, care must be
taken to not misinterpret developmental differences as
Although girls & boys tend to demonstrate different
patterns of motor development (both genetically &
experientially acquired), Care must be taken NOT to
promote stereotypic play
Boys & girls should be afforded the same play
Early identification & prompt intervention of any
exceptionalities is the most important responsibility of
early childhood educators
Indicators of
atypical motor development
Gross motor indicator: Poor eye-hand
 Fine motor indicator: Still scribbling
without recognizable figures by age six
 Limited self-help skills: Continuing to
depend on adults for dressing &
toileting, beyond age 4
Characteristics of
Preoperational Thought
Perception-based thinking: unable to use abstract
reasoning (What you think you see is what you
Unidimensional thinking: limited ability to consider
more than one idea at a time
Irreversibility: difficulty reversing sequence of thoughts
& actions (Can dismantle but limited ability to
Transductive reasoning: limited understanding of cause
& effect (Assigns cause of an occurrence to most
immediate event, rather than to original trigger)
Egocentrism:What’s mine is mine & yours is mine, too!
The link between cognitive
development & language
The thinking of young children is highly
influenced by interaction with other persons
 Inner-directed language (self-directed speech)
helps organize ideas and channel attention
 Self-directed speech (self talk) facilitates higher
level thinking
 Problem-solving is facilitated by talking & social
Cognitive Development: key concepts
Elaborate dramatic play areas should be
available for use on a daily basis to assist in
problem-solving/decision-making skills
facilitated by both internal reflection and social
 Open-ended questions that encourage young
children to think about past and future
encourage practice in problem-solving via
internal reflection
Cognitive Development: key concepts
Elaborate dramatic play areas should be
available for use on a daily basis to assist in
problem-solving/decision-making skills
facilitated by both internal reflection and social
interaction (There is no more helpful
perspective-taking activity than role-playing.)
 Open-ended questions that encourage young
children to think about past and future
encourage practice in problem-solving via
internal reflection
Cognitive Development:
key concepts (Continued)
Children ages 2-5 still rely on feel, touch smell,
taste, sound, & appearance (based on
perception) to problem solve
 Therefore, ALL learning experiences for young
children should involve using the 5 senses
(Learning will occur best if a child is allowed to
touch, examine, & experiment with concrete
 Expecting young children to “sit still & listen” to
instruction should be avoided
Cognitive Development:
key concepts (Continued)
Plan activities that encourage children to
 Ask questions that induce thinking about more
than one attribute at a time (use attribute
 Provide activities that prompt children to
practice reversibility (tell stories or recite
rhymes backwards)
 Provide frequent cause & effect experiments
Cognitive Development:
key concepts (Continued)
Curriculum should be planned to match each child’s
cognitive style (Visual, auditory, or tactile-kinesthetic)
Provide opportunity for social/cooperative problemsolving
Assist young children to reflect on & express their
Assist young children to reflect on the feelings of others
Hold children’s interest by providing novel objects when
interest in familiar objects wanes
Indicators of
atypical cognitive development
Receptive language delay: difficulty
understanding / interpreting feelings,
intentions, meaning, or thoughts of
 Expressive language delay: difficulty
manipulating language to clearly
express thoughts
First & Second Language Acquisition
Children’s language develops in four
fundamental ways:
Phonology (speech sounds): over-time
pronunciation, fluency, & articulation
Semantics (understanding of word meaning)
Syntax (clauses & complex word endings that
used to enhance self-expression &
Pragmatics (Using language to communicate
First & Second Language Acquisition
Phonology: Children learn what are acceptable sounds
by hearing them patterned over & over in the words
they most frequently hear (The first 200 words that
most children learn will contain almost all of the key
sounds of what will become their spoken language
Semantics: Children know 200 words by age 2 & 10,000
words by age 6
Syntax: By age 5, children have learned almost all the
rules of adult syntax. This includes: Morphemes, the
small words or parts of words that hold meaning (past
tense ending - ed, plural - s, articles- a & the)
Pragmatics: The most significant language
advancement in early childhood is the ability to use
words to influence other people
First & Second Language Acquisition
Most children in the world are bilingual
 Bilingual classrooms are ideal for
language development
 English-only teachers should become
conversant in a child’s primary language
(at least learn key phrases)
 Promote the learning of standard
English, while respecting each child’s
unique communication pattern
Stages of Reading Readiness
A child believes that words of a story come
from the pictures
 A child realizes that stories come from printed
text that accompanies a story
 A child memorizes the text
 A child begins to “map” the story across the
printed text by attempting to match the words
in print to the memorized story
Play & Language Development:
key concepts
To stimulate the development of symbolic
thought (using symbols or verbal images to
represent objects), young children should be
exposed to adult language that is “rich” with
 Children should see the printed word
throughout the classroom environment
 Art, music, & writing experiences and dramatic
play should be facilitated to enhance symbolic
Play & Language Development:
key concepts (Continued)
Curriculum-relevant play activities should be facilitated
Dramatic play area should contain nonrealistic “raw”
materials instead of “real” objects to encourage
symbolization & enhance symbolic reasoning
To enhance language learning, classrooms should be
filled with conversation
Adults should model the application of language
concepts rather than “teach” language sessions
Scribbling is an important writing-readiness activity
Reading to children & children “pretending” to read
are extremely important reading-readiness activities
Children should be read to, DAILY!
Play & Language Development:
key concepts (Continued)
Every classroom should have a writing center equipped
with movable alphabet letters, plenty of paper for
making books, pens & markers, clipboards, &
computers (set for word-processing)
Scribble-writing & invented spelling should be accepted
Books should be available for children to look at &
“read”, on their own, throughout the day
Adults should be willing to read & reread favorite
Children should be allowed to turn pages & point to
illustrations and printed words (Lap reading is best!)
Indicators of
atypical language development
Unclear articulation of speech sounds & an inability to
imitate the speech sounds heard by others
Limited vocabulary
Reliance on using the word “thing” to refer to words
that a child cannot remember
Continuing to express needs with a prevalence of oneor two-word sentences at age 4
Young children with articulation errors, disfluency in
expressive language, difficulty remembering &
retrieving words, or who, typically, speak in fewer than
three word sentences, by age 4, will need special
intervention. Start intervention now!
Social & Emotional Development
of young children ages 2-5
Early childhood is a crucial period for formation of selfesteem
Young children who are nurtured, encouraged, &
accepted with unconditional positive regard will grow
up to become emotionally well-adjusted
Young children who are abused, neglected, or rejected
can suffer mental health difficulties
One’s emotional state during early childhood can have a
powerful impact on developing social relationships
Young children who are emotionally healthy are better
able to enter into positive relationships with others
Initiative versus Guilt
From ages 2-5, young children encounter a struggle
between initiative & guilt
Emotionally healthy young children will want to assert
themselves to pretend, take risks, engage in active
exploration, create, invent, & discover new things
The urge to create is called initiative
When adults encourage active efforts to take initiative,
a child’s sense of initiative is strengthened
When young children are lead to believe that their
efforts are “wrong”, they develop a sense of guilt for
taking individual initiative
A sense of guilt can inhibit emotional growth
Initiative versus Guilt (Continued)
Young children who are criticized or punished
for their initiative will eventually stop trying &
construct an image of “self” as “bad”
 Teachers must create a non-judgmental, noncritical environment in the classroom
 More emphasis should be placed on creative
processes than on finished product
 Praise can also threaten initiative by giving
implicit messages about which creative efforts
are “correct”
Self-Concept & Initiative
An individual’s self-concept includes all selfperceptions about one’s competence, basic
character, & personhood
 A young child with a positive self-concept will
be happy with who he or she is & feel good
about his or her self-perceptions
 Only children whose initiative is discouraged or
harshly criticized by adults will suffer from a
negative self-concept & have a low self-esteem
Social Competence
Social competence refers to two interrelated aspects
of human development:
Being liked by others
Having social skills that are conducive to relationship
Research indicates that children who display
aggressive behavior toward others or are impulsive
in their social interactions, during this stage of
development, are more likely to display psychological
& antisocial behavior as adults
Social & Emotional Development:
key concept
The impact of child care programs on the social
& emotional development of young children
hold great promise as a way to resolve societal
problems caused by damaged social
 However, research indicates that the vast
majority of child care programs in the U.S. are
environments that lack adults who consistently
demonstrate warmth & responsiveness to
young children
Development during the
Primary Grades
 What
to look for
 What to do
Motor Development of Young
Children from ages 6-8
Motor activity should be integrated into the curriculum
Fine motor activity such as sculpturing with clay &
woodworking as well as gross motor activity such as
dance can be related to social studies & science
Aiming games using beanbag tossing & bowling can
also be used in all aspects of the curriculum while
enhancing eye-hand coordination
Periods of sitting & listening should be followed by
blocks of time that allow for physically active
Motor movement fosters
brain development
Motor activity stimulates cognitive
 Play via physical exercise promotes
learninglearning supports academic
 When the brain becomes organized
during motor activity, it enhances
thinking & thinking enhances learning
The Brain-Body Connection
A child performs a physical movement (large muscle or
small muscle action)
This activates specific neurons (brain cells) which
activate other neurons
This coordinated effort, if repeated, form an organized
pattern (neural cluster)
A neural cluster is a collection of connected brain cells
that retain memory for a specific movement
When that movement is combined with another
movement (skill) the neural clusters connect & become
part of a larger network, called a neural map
A neural map is a complex web of cells connecting an
entire brain region
Brain-Body Connection
Organized in this manner, the brain is better
able to learn (building new understandings on
the foundation of prior learning
 (Example: Crawling through a maze creates a
neural cluster, which helps understanding of
spatial relationships & movementthese same
neural clusters stimulate the formation of other
clusters that refine the understanding of other
spatial tasks, such as recognizing the
separation of letters that form words & the
spacing of words to form sentences)
Milestones in
Motor Developmental ( ages 6-8)
Bilateral skip
 Kick a ball with a full leg follow-through
 Hop alternating from one foot to another
 Hop with accuracy (play hopscotch)
 Balance on one foot with eyes closed
 Walk along a 2X4 balance beam
Milestones in
Motor Developmental ( ages 6-8)
Catch a small ball only using hands
 Throw a ball accurately, over-hand, at least
40 feet, stepping forward with the foot
opposite the throwing arm
 Swing a bat & strike a ball, rotating the
trunk & shifting body weight forward
 Run, at least, 14 feet per second
 Perform jumping jacks correctly
Classroom adaptations for
students with ADHD
Use learning centers that are partitioned to reduce
Place quiet areas away from more active activities
Announce transitions before they occur
Maintain a predictable routine/Use an activity checklist
Avoid sudden changes in the schedule
Allow relative freedom of movement & positioning of
their body in space
Allow more time to complete tasks
Break-down projects into smaller steps
Provide periods that allow for physically active play
Encouraging Cooperative Play
Introduce games that have no losers
 Communicate that winning is not as
important as having fun
 Give children the option of playing
games without winners & losers
Cognitive Development
(ages 6-8)
Movement from unidimensional thought to
decentration ( ability to coordinate two
thoughts at the same time) Ex: reproduce
shapes of letters correctly, turning them in
the appropriate direction in space, while at
the same time, attend to the sound the
letter represents, while contemplating the
meaning of the story that the letters are
Cognitive Development from 6-8
Reversibility (mentally & physically
reverse steps of a process) Ex: add &
subtract the same numbers
 Causality (understanding cause & effect)
 Time interval continues to be a challenge
(the distinction between long ago and
different time periods)
 During the primary grades, young
children construct knowledge through
action upon concrete objects
3 Different Kinds of Intelligence
Componential intelligence (the basic processes
of thinking, attending to detail, &
 Contextual intelligence (adapting the thinking
process to the demands of the environment)
This is needed for “real- life problem-solving
 Experiential intelligence (using prior learning to
gain new learning)
Multiple Intelligences
Linguistic: using written & oral language (Ex:
Storytelling, journalism)
 Logical-mathematical: using reasoning to solve
problems Ex: Computer programming, physics
 Spatial: ability to perceive visual-spatial
phenomena (achitecture, interior design)
 Bodily-kinesthetic: using body to express ideas
or create (athletics, dance, art, mechanics
Multiple Intelligences
Musical: ability to perceive, create, &/or perform music
(composer, musician)
Interpersonal: ability to accurately identify & interpret
behavior, motives, feelings, intention of others
Intrapersonal: self-knowledge, self-awareness, able to
accurately see one’s own competencies, motivations,
self-perception, emotional honesty, temperament,
desires (useful for assessing personal strengths &
challenges & to make constructive personal life
Characteristics of Young Children
with Learning Disabilities
Poor academic achievement: difficulty with specific
subject areas/performance often uneven/excel in
math,struggle in writing
Perceptual-motor difficulties: lack of motor
coordination/confusion with left/right distinction
difficulty interpreting sensory stimuli
Speech & language delays: word retrieval delay
Faulty logic & poor memory: difficulty remembering &
Cognitive &/or physical restlessness: difficulty
sustaining focused attention/extreme degrees of 125
Indicators of atypical development
(ages 6-8)
Poor articulation so that you have difficulty
understanding a child’s attempts at verbal
 Limited Vocabulary
 Unable to solve social problems using language
 Absence of conventional spelling by age 8
 Unable to read by age 8
 If the letter sounds b, p, m, & n are not
articulated by age 7
Classroom adaptations for
special needs children
Primary-grade classrooms should
contain activities & materials that
provide graded challenges – varied
tasks or problems that reflect the
different cognitive competency levels of
the students in the room
Language Development
in Young Children (6-8)
Primary-grade children should have a classroom filled
with the written word
Writing should be encouraged via letter-writing to
friends & family, written observations of science
experiments, & language experience stories rather
than skill instruction exercises
Children should be read to for at least 20 minutes a
Time should be available, daily, for children to read to
These two activities out-perform reading skill
Addressing language delays
in the classroom
Teachers should coordinate classroom
activities with speech & language
The incorporation of speech & language
games in the regular classroom that address
specific delays enhance communication
more effectively than pull-out lessons &
carry less social stigma
Bilingual Education for 6-8 year olds
Bilingual students should be encouraged to
speak in both idioms throughout the school
Early linguistic errors by bilingual children
should be accepted at this age
Only when a child is competent in reading &
writing in his 1st language should he receive
reading & writing instruction in his 2nd
Emotional Development in Young
Children ages 6-8
Emotionally healthy young children between
ages 6 & 8 acquire a sense of industry &
competence-a belief that they are
knowledgeable & skilled
 Young children who experience harsh
evaluation from adults & feelings of failure
develop feelings of inferiority
 Young children who have secure emotional
attachment to at least one adult (parent figure)
tend to have higher self-esteem than children
who do not develop such attachment
Common practices in American schools
that tend to foster feelings of inferiority
Evaluative symbols: stickers & letter grades
Comparing children: classroom charts, checkmarks by
Ability groupings: “smart group” / “slow group”
Whole-class instruction: some cannot keep up
Teacher/student relationship more formal: less
demonstration of unconditional acceptance
To decrease some of these threats to self-worth/selfesteem use individualization, small group activities,
avoid comparisons, ability groupings, & public
Self-Esteem in the Primary Years
Self-esteem is a psychological trait
 Self-esteem is a person’s overall evaluation of
 Positive feelings of self-worth=high self-esteem
 Feeling doubtful about self=low self-esteem
 During the primary years, self-worth is
intimately tied to feelings of competence
Locus of Control
Internal locus of control: Person believes
she/he has personal power to control what
happens to them
 External locus of control: belief that what
happens to you is determined by external
forces beyond your control
 If a young child’s attempts to be successful at
her/his endeavors are consistently hampered
during early childhood, by age 8 he/she will
quit trying & assume that failure is inevitable
Evolution of Self-Esteem
Social Acceptance
Perception of
Emerging Self
Internal or External
Locus of Control
Sense of Self-worth
Moral Development in Early Childhood (Kohlberg)
Level 1: Preconventional (What is right is what you get
rewarded for. What is wrong is what you get punished
Stage 1: What is right is obeying & not getting punished
Stage 2: Being nice to others so they are nice to you
Level 2: Conventional (Social rules define what is right.
Breaking rules is wrong.)
Stage 3: What is right is what pleases others
Stage 4: What is right is obeying society’s laws
Level 3: Postconventional (What is right is determined
by higher-order moral principles
Stage 5: If rules are bad it is morally correct to change
Stage 6: What is right are universal moral principles
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
5. Self-Actualization (achieving your
 3.
 2.
 1.
maximum potential) Becoming the best
possible person you can become
Self-Esteem (self-acceptance)
Affiliation (need to be loved)
Security (sense of personal safety)
Physiological (biological needs)

Psychiatric PAs: Who are they? and What can they do for …