Unformatted text preview: Chapter 9: Cognitive Development in Early Childhood Piagetian Theory Piaget's Theory: The Preoperational Stage Advances in mental representation Make-believe play Symbol-real world relations Limitations of preoperational thought Follow-up research on preoperational thought Piaget and early childhood education The Preoperational Stage: Advances in Mental Representation Most obvious change in cognition between ages 2-7 Language is most flexible means of representation Sensorimotor activity internal images of experience children label with words The Preoperational Stage: Make-Believe Play An excellent example of the development of representation during early childhood Advances in symbolic mastery Make-believe play with others increases rapidly The Preoperational Stage: Development of Make-Believe Play Play increasingly detaches from the real-life conditions associated with it becomes less self-centered gradually includes more complex combinations of schemes The Preoperational Stage: Benefits of Make-Believe Play Contributes to children's cognitive and social skills Strengthens sustained attention, memory, logical reasoning, language and literacy, imagination, creativity, metacognition, and perspective taking Imaginary companions The Preoperational Stage: Enhancing Make-Believe Play Provide sufficient space and play materials Supervise and encourage children's play without controlling it Offer a wide variety of both realistic materials and materials without clear functions Ensure that children have many rich, real-world experiences to inspire positive fantasy play Help children solve social conflicts constructively The Preoperational Stage: Symbol-Real World Relations Realizing that a symbol stands for a specific aspect of the real world Snoopy example Dual representation viewing a symbolic object as both an object in its own right and a of something else How do children grasp dual representation? Adult teaching is helpful Understanding one type of symbol can help preschoolers understand others Provide children with opportunities to learn the functions of diverse symbols The Preoperational Stage: Limitations of preoperational thought Piaget described preschool children in terms of what they cannot understand Young children are not capable of operations Thinking is rigid, limited to one aspect at a time, and strongly influenced by the way things appear at the moment Limitations of Preoperational Thoughts: Egocentric Thinking Egocentrism Focus on their own viewpoint. Assume that others perceive, think, and feel the same way they do Three mountains problem Limitations of Preoperational Thoughts: Animistic Thinking Believe that inanimate objects have lifelike qualities Egocentric and animistic thinking prevents them from accommodating or reflecting on their own faulty reasoning Limitations of Preoperational Thoughts: Inability to Conserve Conservation idea that certain physical characteristics of objects remain the same, or are conserved, even when their outward appearance changes Centration focusing on one aspect of a situation, neglecting other important features Limitations of Preoperational Thoughts: Lack of Hierarchical Classification Organizing objects into classes and subclasses based on similarities and differences Class inclusion problem Follow-Up Research on Preoperational Thought Researchers have challenged Piaget's ideas of a "cognitively deficient" preschooler Piagetian problems contain elements or too many pieces of information for young children to handle at once Follow-Up Research on Egocentrism When changing the nature of the three- mountains problem from a picture selection to another method, 4-year-olds displayed awareness of others' perceptions Follow-Up Research on Animistic Thinking Piaget overestimated preschoolers' animistic beliefs by asking children about objects with which they lacked experience By 2 children give psychological explanations to animals but not objects Display difficulty with vehicles due to their characteristics Follow-Up Research on Conservation When given relevant tasks that are simplified and related to their everyday lives, preoperational children do than Piaget expected Follow-Up Research on Categorization Preschoolers display difficulty with Piagetian class inclusion tasks However, they organize their everyday knowledge into nested categories at a very early age. Follow-Up Research on Appearance versus Reality Can preoperational children distinguish appearance from reality? This ability did not develop until age 6 or 7. However, poor performance was not due to difficulty in distinguishing appearance from reality. Rather, they had difficulty with the language. Piaget and Early Childhood Education Discovery learning Sensitivity to children's readiness to learn Acceptance of individual differences ...
View Full Document
- Spring '07
- preoperational stage, Preoperational Thought, follow-up research