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Diane Flynn Keith...

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Day 97: Cognitive Development

Here is another learning activity adapted from our “Home Preschool Curriculum” developed by Fran Wisniewski and Diane Flynn Keith for UniversalPreschool.com.

Remember, only do these learning activities if they are enjoyable for you and your child. Do not treat this as a “must do” lesson. It’s simply a fun activity that provides an opportunity to learn, while building “readiness skills” for the school or homeschool environment.

~ Cognitive Development ~

You hear a lot in the media about how researchers in the field of early childhood education say the early years of life, ages 0-5, are the prime time for brain development. They tell us that children should be exposed to numerous experiences that lead to cognitive development so that they will have academic success when they begin school.

Most professionals point to preschools as places where young children will get the experiences they need to acquire these skills. Why? What exactly is “cognitive development” and what can preschool parents do to encourage it in their own young children without sending them to preschool?

There’s no big mystery to “cognitive development.” It refers to functions of the brain such as thinking, learning, awareness, judgment, and processing information. These are things healthy children do quite naturally as they learn and grow.

The Swiss philosopher and psychologist, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), was the first to suggest that children go through different stages of cognitive or mental development and that learning activities should correlate to and adjust with these developmental stages as follows:

  • Sensorimotor Stage, 0-2 years of age, child learns through sensation and movement.
  • Pre-Operational Stage, 2-7 years, child begins to understand and master symbols (language) and draw from past experiences to make assumptions about things and people in their world.
  • Concrete Operational Stage, 7-11 years, the child’s ability to reason begins, based on his/her own personal experiences.
  • Formal Operational Stage, 11+ years, children can speculate, understand abstract ideas, and develop theories.

Piaget invented developmental psychology and cognitive theory, the foundation for education, reform movements. Piaget inspired the belief that children are not empty vessels to be filled with knowledge (as traditional pedagogical theory had it) but active builders of knowledge who are constantly creating and testing their own theories of the world.

Note: You can learn more about Piaget here:

Find out how to help your little one learn essential life skills, while building a love for learning, with nothing more than a lemon!  Start “Learning with Little Lulu Lemon” today at:  http://www.universalpreschool.com/lulu.asp

Copyright 2010, Diane Flynn Keith, All Rights Reserved. Publication or distribution in any medium including blogs, newsletters, ezines, websites, or online discussion lists is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.Thank you for helping to protect my copyright.

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