Between ages 2-4, children begin to
construct an autobiographical self: they can
recall past events in their own lives and
begin to understand that they exist in time,
with a past and a future, as well as a present
As their improving language skills allow an
increasing exchange of ideas with family
members and playmates, they gradually
expand their sense of history to include
other people whom they know well
Children’s knowledge of history on a
broader scale emerges largely as a result
of formal instruction beginning in
elementary school
Concrete and Simplistic
Ex: they may conceptualize the birth of the
United States as resulting from a single,
specific event or as involving nothing more
than constructing new buildings and towns
One source of difficulty for elementary
school children is a limited ability to
understand historical time
May refer to events that happened “a long,
long time ago” or “in the old days” referring
to events from 2005
Tend to lump historical events into two
categories: those that happened very
recently, and those that happened many
years ago
Around age 10, children acquire some
ability to put historical events in sequence
and to attach them to particular time
Systematic history instruction usually
begins in fourth or fifth grade
Although they have little personal
knowledge to build on, they have the
knowledge of human beings
Many history text books describe
historical events very one sided, when in
reality historians often don’t know exactly
how each particular event happened
The idea that history is often as much a
matter of perspective and opinion as it is a
matter of fact is a fairly abstract notion
that students may not be able to fully
comprehend until late adolescence
Students can benefit from reading
multiple accounts of events as early as
fourth grade
Different cultural groups are likely to put
their own “spin” on historical events
Many children and adolescents have an
overly simplistic epistemological belief
about geography as a discipline
By age 3 or 4, children have some ability to
recognize relationships between simple
graphics and the physical locations that the
graphics represent
Their ability to use maps to navigate
through unfamiliar territory remains limited
until adolescence
When children in the early elementary
grades look at larger-scale maps, they tend
to take what they see somewhat literally
Ex: they may think that lines separating
states and countries are actually painted on
the earth or that an airport denoted by a
picture of an airplane has only one plane
Young children have trouble maintaining a
sense of scale and proportion when
interpreting maps
Maps are a good example of cognitive tools
Ex: children whose families travel
extensively tend to have greater
appreciation of distance, more familiarity
with diverse landscapes, and a better
understanding of how maps are used
A major goal of any geography curriculum
must be to foster an understanding of the
symbolic nature of maps
As early as age 2, some children begin to
represent their experiences on paper
Ex: making a series of dots to mimic how an
animal hops
Begin to experiment with geometric figures,
especially lines and circles
Age 3: shapes begin to include squares,
rectangles, triangles, crosses, and Xs, and
they soon begin combining such shapes to
create pictures
Many early drawings are of people which
may consist of a circle with a few facial
features and four lines extending from it
Later, they add hair, hands, fingers, and feet
Around age 4, children begin to combine
drawings of several objects to create
pictures of groups or nature scenes
Initially they may scatter things all over the
page, but eventually placement of objects
on the page is somewhat consistent with
everyday reality
The tendency to depict the sky as a separate
entity at the top of the page is quite
common in 5 and 6 year olds
In elementary school grades, children
become capable of producing a wide
variety of shapes and contours, and their
drawings and paintings become more
detailed, realistic, and appropriately
By upper elementary grades, children
represent depth in their drawings
Some children draw and paint very little
once they reach adolescence, especially if
art is not a regular part of the school
curriculum, and so their artistic skills may
progress very little beyond this point
Try to convey mood and emotion by
selectively using various shapes, hues, and
intensities of color
Mother’s lively songs help keep infants on
an even keel, perking them up a bit if they
seem low on energy but soothing them if
they are overly aroused
Young infants can hear subtle differences in
spoken languages that adults don’t hear
and can pick up subtle changes in music
By age 2, children begin to repeat some of
the song lyrics they hear
They soon add rhythmic structure and upand-down “melody” of sorts
By the time they are 5 or 6, most can sing a
recognizable tune and keep it within the
same key and meter
Music literacy: the ability to read and
understand musical notion
As early as age 4, children can, when
asked, invent ways to represent musical
sounds with objects
They can also invent strategies for
representing music on paper
About 4% of children in any age-group
have amusia (tone deafness)
The ability to produce music draws from
both nature and nurture
Some children with autism have
exceptional instrumental talent
Nature and Nurture (History and Geography)
The bodies of knowledge and cognitive tools
that children acquire in history and geography
are the result of nurture, as provided by both
formal instruction in school and informal
experiences within the family (trips to
historical sites, use of maps on subway
systems, ect.) However, maturational
processes may partly determine the age at
which children become able to think about
historical time and understand the symbolic
nature of maps
Universality and Diversity (History and
Because children’s knowledge of history and
geography is largely the product of the
environment and culture in which they have
been raised, universal acquisitions have not been
identified. In industrialized societies, history is
formally taught in school, and maps are widely
used to aid navigation. In other cultures,
however, children’s knowledge of history comes
from hearing stories from their elders, and
people navigate largely by locating distinctive
landmarks in the physical terrain
Qualitative and Quantitative Change (History and
A good deal of development in history and geography
is quantitative, in that children acquire more
information about historical events and geographical
locations. Qualitative changes are seen in how children
think about history and geography. For example, with
appropriate instruction children gradually begin to
realize that knowledge of history is comprised not only
of what did happen but also of varying perspectives of
what might have happened. And as children gain
proportional reasoning, they become better able to
understand the various scales with which maps are
Nature and Nurture (Art and Music)
Hereditary and maturational factors play
some role in artistic and musical
development. In the preschool years,
children’s ability to draw depends largely on
maturation of fine motor skills. Furthermore,
most children seem to have an inborn
appreciation for music from birth. And some
children show exceptional talent in art or
music even without formal instruction. For
the most part, however, development in art
and music is the result of training and practice
Universality and Diversity (Art and Music)
Virtually all cultures have some form of art and
music. Artistic styles and musical patterns differ
considerably from culture to culture, however, and
the children’s development in these areas varies
accordingly. For instance, although preschoolers’
drawings tend to be quite similar across cultures
(ex: early drawings of people may consist of circles
with rudimentary facial features and four lines
extending outward to represent limbs,) by middle
childhood their artwork begins to mimic the styles
and images they see in their environment
Qualitative and Quantitative Change (Art and
Many qualitative changes are seen in art and
music development. For example, with growth
and experience, children’s drawings begin to
address composition (ex: creating an organized
scene rather than a random collection of objects,)
perspective, and texture. And in the preschool
years, their songs begin to reflect a consistent
rhythm and key. Quantitative change is seen in
such things as children’s increasing knowledge of
musical notion and increasing automaticity in
playing a musical instrument

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