Throughout this course, you will be creating a series of parent handouts focused on the various ages and stages of development

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Throughout this course, you will be creating a series of parent handouts focused on the various ages and stages of development. The fourth week of class has focused on the preschool period; therefore, this will be the focus of your Week 4 assignment. Continuing with the same template from your Week 1 Theory Parent Handout assignment, your Week 2 Prenatal and Newborn Parent Handout assignment, and your Week 3 Infant and Toddler Parent Handout assignment, complete the slides for the Week 4 portion.

To prepare:

· Read Chapter 8: Physical Development in Early Childhood

· Read Chapter 9: Cognitive Development in Early Childhood

· Read  What Is Differentiated Instruction? A Definition for Teachers Links to an external site.

· Find and open your latest version of the  Parent Handout template on your computer. You will be adding on to this document.


For your assignment, complete the following:


· Discuss how the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky will influence the ways you support cognitive development in the preschool years.

· Explain your philosophy of why learning centers are a developmentally appropriate method for supporting the physical development of preschoolers.

· Describe your philosophy of supporting vocabulary development of preschoolers.

· Explain three resources for families to support them during the preschool stage of development. Be sure to include a link to each resource.

· One resource should be a quick read for families on the go.

· One resource should be more detailed for families who want to learn more.

· One resource should be user-friendly for diverse families (ELL, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, etc.).


· Explain why the development of empathy and sympathy are essential to fostering strong peer relations among preschoolers.

· Discuss how you will use information shared with you by families (i.e., historical, biological, environmental, societal, familial, and cultural influences) to support their preschooler’s development.

· Describe how you will differentiate instruction to support the unique needs of preschoolers across all developmental domains.


The Preschool Parent Handout paper

· Must be three pages in length and formatted according to template.

· Must utilize academic voice. See the  Academic Voice  Links to an external site. resource for additional guidance.

· Must use at least two scholarly sources in addition to the course text. These scholarly resources should be different than the resources provided for families. Must follow  APA Style  Links to an external site. as outlined in the Writing Center.

· The  Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources  Links to an external site. table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.

· To assist you in completing the research required for this assignment, view the  Quick and Easy Library Research  Links to an external site. tutorial, which introduces the University of Arizona Global Campus Library and the research process, and provides some library search tips.



Working in the Garden

Aljay van der Merwe, 6 years, South AfricaCultivating a garden requires the ability to resist distraction, focus attention on what’s important at the moment, and plan—components of executive function that improve during early childhood, contributing greatly to cognitive and social development.


Reprinted with permission from Children’s Museum of the Arts Permanent Collection, New York, NY



9.1 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 • Evaluation of the Preoperational Stage • Piaget and Education

■ Social Issues: Education: Children’s Gestures Facilitate Cognitive Change

9.2 Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory

Private Speech • Social Origins of Early Childhood Cognition • Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education • Evaluation of Vygotsky’s Theory

■ Cultural Influences: Children in Village and Tribal Cultures Observe and Participate in Adult Work

9.3 Information Processing

Executive Function • Memory • Problem Solving • The Young Child’s Theory of Mind • Early Literacy and Mathematical Development

■ Biology and Environment: Autism and Theory of Mind

9.4 Individual Differences in Mental Development

Early Childhood Intelligence Tests • Home Environment and Mental Development • Preschool, Kindergarten, and Child Care • Educational Screen Media

■ Social Issues: Education: Teaching Through Guided Play

9.5 Language Development

Vocabulary • Grammar • Conversation • Supporting Language Learning in Early Childhood

One rainy morning, as I observed in our laboratory preschool, Leslie, the children’s teacher, joined me at the back of the room. “Preschoolers’ minds are such a blend of logic, fantasy, and faulty reasoning,” Leslie reflected. “Every day, I’m startled by the maturity and originality of what they say and do. Yet at other times, their thinking seems limited and inflexible.”


Leslie’s comments sum up the puzzling contradictions of early childhood cognition. That day, for example, 3-year-old Sammy looked up, startled, after a loud crash of thunder outside. “A magic man turned on the thunder!” he pronounced. Even when Leslie patiently explained that thunder is caused by lightning, not by a person turning it on, Sammy persisted: “Then a magic lady did it.”


In other respects, Sammy’s thinking was surprisingly advanced. At snack time, he accurately counted, “One, two, three, four!” and then got four cartons of milk, one for each child at his table. Sammy’s keen memory and ability to categorize were also evident. He could recite by heart The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a story he had heard many times. And he could name and classify dozens of animals.


But when his snack group included more than four children, Sammy’s counting broke down. And some of his notions about quantity seemed as fantastic as his understanding of thunder. After Priti dumped out her raisins, scattering them on the table, Sammy asked, “How come you got lots, and I only got this little bit?” He didn’t realize that he had just as many raisins; his were simply all bunched up in a tiny red box.


While Priti was washing her hands after snack, Sammy stuffed her remaining raisins back in the box and placed it in her cubby. When Priti returned and looked for her raisins, Sammy insisted, “You know where they are!” He failed to consider that Priti, who hadn’t seen him move the raisins, would expect them to be where she had left them.


In this chapter, we explore early childhood cognition, drawing on three theories with which you are already familiar. To understand Sammy’s reasoning, we turn first to Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories along with evidence highlighting the strengths and limitations of each. Then we examine additional research on young children’s cognition inspired by the information-processing perspective. Next, we address factors that contribute to individual differences in mental development—the home environment, the quality of preschool and child care, and the many hours young children spend with screen media. Our chapter concludes with the dramatic expansion of language in early childhood. ■



9.1a Describe advances in mental representation, and limitations of thinking, during the preoperational stage.

9.1b Explain the implications of follow-up research on early childhood cognitive development for the accuracy of Piaget’s preoperational stage.

9.1c Describe educational principles that can be derived from Piaget’s theory.

As children move from the sensorimotor to the preoperational stage, which spans the years 2 to 7, the most obvious change is an extraordinary increase in representational, or symbolic, activity. Recall that infants and toddlers have an impressive ability to mentally represent their world. In early childhood, this capacity blossoms.


9.1.1 Advances in Mental Representation

Piaget acknowledged that language is our most flexible means of mental representation. By detaching thought from action, rapid gains in language permit far more efficient thinking than was possible during the first two years. When we think in words, we overcome the limits of our momentary experiences. We can deal with past, present, and future at once and combine concepts in unique ways, as when we imagine a hungry caterpillar eating bananas or monsters flying through the forest at night.


Despite the power of language, Piaget did not regard it as a primary ingredient in childhood cognitive change. Instead, he believed that sensorimotor activity leads to internal images of experience, which children then label with words (Piaget, 1936/1952). In support of Piaget’s view, recall from Chapter 6 that children’s first words have a strong sensorimotor basis. Also, infants and toddlers acquire an impressive range of categories long before they use words to label them (see page 215 in Chapter 6). But as we will see, Piaget underestimated the power of language to spur children’s cognition.


9.1.2 Make-Believe Play

Make-believe play is another excellent example of the development of representation in early childhood. Piaget believed that through pretending, young children practice and strengthen newly acquired representational schemes. Drawing on his ideas, several investigators have traced changes in make-believe play during the preschool years.


Development of Make-Believe

One day, Sammy’s 20-month-old brother, Dwayne, visited the classroom. Dwayne wandered around, picked up a toy telephone receiver, eyed his mother, said, “Hi, Mommy,” and then dropped it. Next, he found a cup, pretended to drink, and then toddled off again. Meanwhile, Sammy joined Vance and Priti in the block area for a space shuttle launch.


“That can be our control tower,” Sammy suggested, pointing to a corner by a bookshelf. “Countdown!” he announced, speaking into his “walkie-talkie”—a small wooden block. “Five, six, two, four, one, blastoff!” Priti made a doll push a pretend button, and the rocket was off!


Comparing Dwayne’s pretend play with Sammy’s, we see three important changes that reflect the preschool child’s growing symbolic mastery:


Play detaches from the real-life conditions associated with it. In early pretending, toddlers use only realistic objects—a toy telephone to talk into or a cup to drink from. Their earliest pretend acts usually imitate adults’ actions and are not yet flexible. Children younger than age 2, for example, will pretend to drink from a cup but refuse to pretend a cup is a hat (Rakoczy, Tomasello, & Striano, 2005). They have trouble using an object (cup) that already has an obvious use as a symbol of another object (hat).

After age 2, children pretend with less realistic toys—for example, a block for a telephone receiver. Gradually, they can imagine objects and events without any support from the real world, as Sammy’s imaginary control tower illustrates. And by age 3, they flexibly understand that an object (a yellow stick) may take on one fictional identity (a toothbrush) in one pretend game and another fictional identity (a carrot) in a different pretend game (Wyman, Rakoczy, & Tomasello, 2009).


Play becomes less self-centered. At first, make-believe is directed toward the self. For example, Dwayne pretends to feed only himself. Soon, children begin to direct pretend actions toward objects, as when a child feeds a doll. Early in the third year, they become detached participants, making a doll feed itself or pushing a button to launch a rocket (McCune, 1993). Increasingly, preschoolers realize that agents and recipients of pretend actions can be independent of themselves.

Play includes more complex combinations of schemes. Dwayne can pretend to drink from a cup, but he does not yet combine drinking with pouring. Later, children combine schemes with those of peers in sociodramatic play, the make-believe with others that is under way by the end of the second year and that increases rapidly in complexity during early childhood (Jing & Li, 2015; Kavanaugh, 2006). Already, Sammy and his classmates can create and coordinate several roles in an elaborate plot. By the end of the preschool years, children have a sophisticated understanding of role relationships and story lines.

Make-believe play increases in sophistication during the preschool years. Children pretend with less realistic toys and increasingly coordinate make-believe roles, such as school bus driver and passengers.



My Back Yard

Andy Laing, 6 years, USA

This artist depicts early childhood just as it is often described: “the play years.” Chapter 8 highlights the close connections between physical growth and other aspects of young children’s development.


Reprinted with permission from Children’s Museum of the Arts Permanent Collection, New York, NY



8.1 A Changing Body and Brain

Skeletal Growth • Brain Development

8.2 Influences on Physical Growth and Health

Heredity and Hormones • Sleep Habits and Problems • Nutrition • Infectious Disease • Childhood Injuries

■ Biology and Environment: Childhood Poverty and Brain Development

■ Social Issues: Health: Otitis Media and Development

8.3 Motor Development

Gross-Motor Development • Fine-Motor Development • Individual Differences in Motor Skills • Enhancing Early Childhood Motor Development

■ Cultural Influences: Why Are Children from Asian Cultures Advanced in Drawing Skills?

For more than a decade, my fourth-floor office windows overlooked the preschool and kindergarten play yard of our university laboratory school. On mild fall and spring mornings, classroom doors swung open, and sand table, easels, and large blocks spilled out into a small courtyard. Alongside the building was a grassy area with jungle gyms, swings, a playhouse, and a flower garden planted by the children; beyond the garden, a circular path lined with tricycles and wagons could be seen. Each day, the setting was alive with activity.


Even from my distant vantage point, the physical changes of early childhood were evident. Children’s bodies were longer and leaner than they had been a year or two earlier. The awkward gait of toddlerhood had disappeared in favor of more refined movements that included running, climbing, jumping, galloping, and skipping. Children scaled the jungle gym, raced across the lawn, turned somersaults, and vigorously pedaled tricycles. Just as impressive as these gross-motor achievements were gains in fine-motor skills. At the sand table, children built hills, valleys, caves, and roads and prepared trays of pretend cookies and cupcakes. And as they grew older, their paintings at outdoor easels took on greater structure and detail, with family members, houses, trees, birds, sky, monsters, and letterlike forms appearing in the colorful creations.


The years from 2 to 6 are often called “the play years”—aptly so, because play blossoms during this time, becoming increasingly complex, flexible, and symbolic. Our discussion of early childhood opens with the physical attainments of this period—body and brain growth, improvements in motor coordination, and refinements in perception. We pay special attention to genetic and environmental factors that support these changes and to their intimate connection with other domains of development. The children I came to know well, first by watching from my office window and later by observing at close range in their classrooms, provide many of the examples of developmental trends and individual differences used in this chapter. ■



8.1 Describe body growth and brain development in early childhood.

In early childhood, the rapid increase in body size of the first two years tapers off into a slower growth pattern. On average, children add 2 to 3 inches in height and about 5 pounds in weight each year. Boys continue to be slightly larger than girls. As the “baby fat” that began to decline in toddlerhood drops off further, children gradually become thinner, although girls retain somewhat more body fat than boys, who are slightly more muscular (Fomon & Nelson, 2002). As the torso lengthens and widens, internal organs tuck neatly inside, and the spine straightens. As Figure 8.1 on page 282 shows, by age 5 the top-heavy, bowlegged, potbellied toddler has become a more streamlined, flat-tummied, longer-legged child with body proportions similar to those of an adult. Consequently, posture and balance improve—changes that foster gains in motor coordination.


Individual differences in body size become more apparent in early childhood. Speeding around the bike path in the play yard, 5-year-old Darryl—at 48 inches tall and 55 pounds—towered over his kindergarten classmates. (The average North American 5-year-old boy is 43 inches tall and weighs 42 pounds.) Priti, an Asian-Indian child, was unusually small because of genetic factors linked to her cultural ancestry. And Hal, a European-American child from a poverty-stricken home, was well below average for reasons we will discuss shortly.


The existence of these variations in body size reminds us that growth norms for one population are not good standards for children elsewhere in the world. Consider the Efe of the Republic of Congo, whose typical adult height is less than 5 feet. For genetic reasons, the impact of hormones controlling body size is reduced in Efe children (Le Bouc, 2017). By age 5, the average Efe child is shorter than more than 97 percent of North American and European agemates, and Efe children reach puberty and stop growing at an earlier age than U.S. comparison children. Researchers disagree on why the Efe’s small size evolved. Some suggest that it reduces their caloric requirements in the face of food scarcity in the rain forests of Central Africa, others that it permits easy movement through the dense forest underbrush, and still others that it enables earlier childbearing to compensate for the Efe’s extremely high mortality rate (Verdu, 2016). Efe children’s short stature is not a sign of growth or health problems. But for other children, such as Hal, extremely slow growth is cause for concern.

Figure 8.1 Body growth during early childhood. During the preschool years, children grow more slowly than in infancy and toddlerhood. Wilson and Mariel’s bodies became more streamlined, flat-tummied, and longer-legged. Boys continue to be slightly taller, heavier, and more muscular than girls. But generally, the two sexes are similar in body proportions and physical capacities.




8.1.1 Skeletal Growth

The skeletal changes of infancy continue throughout early childhood. Between ages 2 and 6, approximately 45 new epiphyses, or growth centers in which cartilage hardens into bone, emerge in various parts of the skeleton. Other epiphyses will appear in middle childhood. X-rays of these growth centers enable doctors to estimate children’s skeletal age, or progress toward physical maturity (see page 155 in Chapter 5)—information helpful in diagnosing growth disorders.


By the end of the preschool years, children start to lose their primary, or “baby,” teeth. The age at which they do so is heavily influenced by genetic factors. For example, girls, who are ahead of boys in physical development, lose their primary teeth sooner. Cultural ancestry also makes a difference. North American children typically get their first secondary (permanent) tooth at 6½ years, children in Ghana at just over 5 years, and children in Hong Kong around the sixth birthday (Burns, 2000). But nutritional factors also influence dental development. Prolonged malnutrition delays the appearance of permanent teeth, whereas overweight and obesity accelerate it (Costacurta et al., 2012; Heinrich-Weltzien et al., 2013).

Like Efe children, these children of the Batwa people of Central Africa’s Great Lakes region are genetically short-statured, expected to reach a typical adult height of less than 5 feet. They remind us that growth norms for one population are not good standards for children elsewhere in the world.

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