The Development of Preschool Children
Once children reach the stage of “preschooler”, usually between the ages of three and five, they continue to develop both physically and cognitively. This paper will discuss the following areas of development of preschool-age children: •
Jean Piaget, who is the psychologist credited with forming the Theory of Cognitive Development in the late 1920s, created a list of what children at each stage are capable of, and what they are not capable of. He found that a preschooler’s thought process does not always make sense, and they are not capable of going back through their thought process to see if all of the steps made sense. He also found that once a preschooler has made a decision, it is very difficult, if not impossible to change their mind. Preschoolers are able to speak in complex sentences, but do not completely understand cause and effect. Piaget found that preschoolers are egocentric, and they believe that everyone sees the world as they see it. Preschoolers often will only pay attention to one aspect of an event. For example, if a child is asked about a party that they attended, they may be able to describe the cake in great detail, but may not be able to describe the games they played at all. Children of preschool age have a difficult time judging amounts. For example, a preschooler does not realize that if you put a certain amount of candy is a big jar, and then take the candy out and place it into a smaller jar, the amount of candy does not change. Preschoolers believe that inanimate objects, such as their stuffed animals, are alive. It is perfectly common for a preschool child to believe that one of their teddy bears has feelings.
Preschoolers are capable of learning. In the 1950s, psychologist Benjamin Bloom led a team of researchers to create a cognitive learning guide. This guide describes how children of different ages understand new information that they are given, and at what stage the child will understand the concept. The guide is separated into different levels, with each higher level building on the one below it. These levels are: •
Level one – Knowledge: This is when a child has already been taught the concept and just needs to remember it. This is the level that is used when retelling a story. •
Level two – Comprehension: This is the level when a child understands what the concept he or she has been taught. At this level, the child can now tell you the main point of the story. •
Level three – Application: At this level, the child can give examples of how the concept can or should be used. Children can draw lessons from the story, and determine how it can be used in real life. •
Level four – Analysis: Children can break down each idea presented to them, and then think of it in ways that were not introduced to them. At this level, a child can determine what an object does. •
Level 5 – Synthesis: This is the level where children will be able to apply what they have learned to a new situation. For example, when a child is faced with a challenge, they can recall the lesson from the story and act according to the moral of the story. •
Level six – Evaluation: At this stage, a child can judge what they have been taught and think over the pros and cons to decide whether it is a good or bad idea. A child might judge a story they have been told and decide if they agreed with the lesson in the story. If they do not agree with the moral, the child might draw an alternate conclusion based on a different story they may have been told. Most preschoolers are comfortable in the areas of knowledge, comprehension, and application, but are not quite at the stage of levels four through six.
At the age of three, preschool children are becoming much more agile in his or her movements. They no longer need to concentrate on how to stand, walk, run, or jump. When walking, the children stand up straight, and take similar size steps most of...
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