Working with diverse groups of infants, preschoolers and school age children has been an integral part of my life for the past 11 ½ years. A lot can be learned from observing the almost magical transformation children undergo in their first few years of life. It takes a curious tot to point out the trail of ants crossing a crack in a pathway. They take the time to stop and notice the little things. They are scientists, mathematicians, artists and have little problems communicating their most basic needs.
During the first five years of life children develop at an astounding speed. Allowing the infant a safe clean area to practice rolling and scooting will encourage gross motor development, offering infants rattles and different textures will help him develop fine motor skills. The infant who was once immobile eventually picks himself up and begins to walk. The preschooler is more sophisticated in his gross and fine motor skills. They can run, jump and climb; they can hold crayons and begin to form basic shapes. Allowing children opportunities to play in open spaces with climbing apparatuses and providing opportunities to practice pouring juice from a pitcher can help them develop both their gross and fine motor skills.
Cognitive development refers to the acquisition and use of thinking skills, young children are active participants in the learning process. For example, an infant who is hungry or wet may stop crying when he sees his care giver get a bottle or diaper; the infant has learned that when his care giver does this his discomfort will end soon. Preschool children are like little scientist and mathematicians, they are curious about what they observe, they ask questions and make predictions. Providing activities such as sorting and stringing beads can help children develop their cognitive skills.
Communication is the sharing of ideas and feelings with others; we...