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Chapter 8. Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood. Body Growth and Change. Height and Weight The Brain. Height and Weight. The average child grows 2½ inches and gains between 5 and 7 pounds a year in early childhood.

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Chapter 8


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    1. Chapter 8 Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood

    2. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    3. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    4. Body Growth and Change • Height and Weight • The Brain Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    5. Height and Weight • The average child grows 2½ inches and gains between 5 and 7 pounds a year in early childhood. • The percentage of increase in height and weight decreases with each additional year. • Body fat shows a steady decline during this time. • Girls are only slightly smaller and lighter than boys, but they have more body fat while boys have more muscle tissue. • Boys and girls slim down as their trunks lengthen. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    6. Individual Differences • Much of the variation in body size is due to heredity. • The two most important contributors to height differences are: • Ethnic origin • Nutrition Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    7. Contributors to Short Stature • Congenital Factors (genetic or prenatal problems) • Physical Problems That Develop in Childhood • Emotional Difficulties Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    8. Congenital Factors’ Influence on Height • Preschool children whose mothers smoked regularly during pregnancy are shorter than their counterparts whose mothers did not smoke. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    9. Physical Problems’ Influence on Height • Children who are chronically sick are shorter than their counterparts who are rarely sick. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    10. Emotional Problems’ Influence on Height • Children who have been physically abused or neglected may not secrete adequate growth hormone, which can restrict their physical growth. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    11. The Brain • The brain and the head grow more rapidly than any other part of the body. • By age 3, the brain is three-quarters of its adult size, and by age 5, the brain has reached about nine-tenths of its adult size. • Some of this size increase is due to increase in size and number of nerve endings and an increase in myelination. • Myelination is believed to be important in the maturation of a number of children’s abilities. • From 3-6 years of age, researchers have found that the most rapid brain growth occurs in the frontallobe. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    12. Motor Development • Gross Motor Skills • Fine Motor Skills • Handedness Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    13. Gross Motor Skills • At 3 years of age, children enjoy simple movements, such as hopping, jumping, and running, just for the fun of it and the pride they feel in their accomplishment. • At 4 years of age, children become more adventurous—taking on jungle gyms and climbing stairs with one foot on each step. • At 5 years of age, children begin to perform hair-raising stunts on anything they can climb on, and they enjoy racing with each other and with parents. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    14. Fine Motor Skills • At age 3, children are still clumsy at picking up very small objects between their thumb and forefinger. • Three-year-olds can build very high block towers, but the blocks are usually not in a perfectly straight line. • Puzzles are approached with a good deal of roughness and imprecision. • By age 4, their coordination has improved and become more precise. • By age 5, children are no longer interested in building towers, but rather houses, churches, and buildings with more detail. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    15. Handedness • Preference for one hand is linked with the dominance of one brain hemisphere with regard to motor performance. • Right-handers have a dominant left hemisphere, while left-handers have a dominant right hemisphere. • Evidence of handedness is present in infancy, as babies show preferences for one side of their body over the other. • Many preschool children use both hands without a clear preference emerging until later in childhood. • The origin of hand preference has been explored with regard to genetic inheritance and environmental experience. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    16. Nutrition • Energy Needs • Eating Behavior Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    17. Energy Needs • What children eat affects their skeletal growth, body shape, and susceptibility to disease. • An average preschool child requires 1,700 calories per day. • Energy requirements for children are determined by the basal metabolism rate (BMR): the minimum amount of energy a person uses in a resting state. • Differences in physical activity, basal metabolism, and the efficiency with which children use energy are among the possible explanation as to why children of the same age, sex, and size vary in their energy needs. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    18. Eating Behavior • Eating habits become ingrained very early in life. • It is during the preschool years that many children get their first taste of fast food. • Our changing lifestyles, in which we often eat on the run and pick up fast food meals, contribute to the increased fat levels in children’s diets. • Although such meals are high in protein, the average American child does not need to be concerned about getting enough protein. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    19. Obesity in Childhood • Being overweight can be a serious problem in childhood. • Overweight preschool children are usually not encouraged to lose a great deal of weight, but to slow their rate of weight gain so they will grow into a more normal weight for their height. • Prevention of obesity in children includes helping children and parents see food as a way to satisfy hunger and nutritional needs, not as proof of love or a reward. • Routine physical activity should be a daily event. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    20. Illness and Death • The United States • The State of Illness and Health of the World’s Children Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    21. The United States • Accidents are the leading cause of death in young children: motor vehicle accidents, drowning, falls, and poisoning are high on the list. • The disorders most likely to be fatal during early childhood today are birth defects, cancer, and heart disease. • Despite the greatly diminished dangers of many childhood diseases, it is still very important for parents to keep young children on an immunization schedule. • Exposure to tobacco smoke increases children’s risk for developing a number of medical problems, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, burns, asthma, and cancer in adulthood. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    22. The State of Illness and Health of the World’s Children • One death of every three in the world is the death of a child under 5 years of age. • Every week, more than a quarter million children die in developing countries due to infection and undernutrition. • The leading cause of childhood death in the world is dehydration and malnutrition as a result of diarrhea. • This could be prevented if parents had available a low-cost breakthrough known as oral rehydration therapy (ORT). • Oral rehydration therapy involves a range of techniques designed to prevent dehydration during episodes of diarrhea by giving the child fluids by mouth. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    23. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    24. Piaget’s Preoperational Stage of Development • Characteristics of the Preoperational Stage • Definition of Operations • Symbolic Function Substage • Intuitive Thought Substage Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    25. Characteristics of the Preoperational Stage • The preoperational stage lasts from 2-7 years old. • During this time stable concepts form, mental reasoning emerges, egocentrism begins, and magical beliefs are constructed. • Thought is flawed and not organized. • This stage involves a transition from primitive to more sophisticated use of symbols. • Children still do not yet think in an operational way. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    26. Definition of Operations • Operations are internalized sets of actions that allow the child to do mentally what before she did physically. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    27. Symbolic Function Substage • The ability to think symbolically and to represent the world mentally predominates in this substage. • It occurs roughly between the ages of 2-4. • Symbolic function is demonstrated by the child’s ability to mentally represent an object not present. • Symbolism is evident in scribbled designs, language, and pretend play • Two important limitations in thought at this stage are egocentrism and animism. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    28. Egocentrism • Egocentrism is the inability to distinguish between one’s own perspective and someone else’s perspective. • It is a salient feature of preoperational thought. • Perspective-taking doesn’t develop uniformly in preschool children, as they frequently show perspective skills on some tasks, but not others. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    29. Animism • Animism is the belief that inanimate objects have “lifelike” qualities and are capable of action. • A child may believe that a tree pushes its leaves off in the Fall, or that the sidewalk made him trip and fall down. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    30. Intuitive Thought Substage • In this stage, children begin to use primitive reasoning and want to know the answers to all sorts of questions. • It occurs roughly between the ages of 4-7. • Piaget used the term intuitive because children say they know something, but they know it without the use of rational thinking. • Children in this stage also ask a barrage of questions, signaling the emergence of their interest in reasoning and why things are the way they are. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    31. Centration • Centration is the focusing or centering of attention on one characteristic to the exclusion of all others. • It is a major characteristic of preoperational thought, evidenced in young children’s lack of conservation. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    32. Conservation • Conservation refers to an awareness that altering an object’s or a substance’s appearance does not change its basic properties. • Although obvious to adults, preoperational children lack conservation. • A lack of conservation not only demonstrates the presence of centration, but also an inability to mentally reverse actions. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    33. Vygotsky’s Theory of Development • The Zone of Proximal Development • Scaffolding in Cognitive Development • Language and Thought • Evaluating and Comparing Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s Theories • Teaching Strategies Based on Vygotsky’s Theory Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    34. The Zone of Proximal Development • The zone of proximal development is Vygotsky’s term for the range of tasks too difficult for children to master alone, but which can be learned with the guidance and assistance of adults or more skilled children. • The lower limit is the level of problem solving reached by the child working independently. • The upper limit is the level of additional responsibility the child can accept with the assistance of an able instructor. • Vygotsky’s emphasis on the ZPD underscores his belief in the importance of social influences, especially instruction, on children’s cognitive development. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    35. Scaffolding in Cognitive Development • Scaffolding refers to changing the level of support. • Over the course of a teaching session, a more skilled person adjusts the amount of guidance to fit the student’s current performance level. • Dialog is an important tool of scaffolding in the zone of proximal development. • As the child’s unsystematic, disorganized, spontaneous concepts meet with the skilled helper’s more systematic, logical, and rational concepts, through meeting and dialogue, the child’s concepts become more systematic, logical, and rational. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    36. Language and Thought • Vygotsky believed that young children use language both for social communication and to plan, guide, and monitor their behavior in a self-regulatory fashion. • Language used for this purpose is called inner speech or private speech. • For Piaget, private speech is egocentric and immature, but for Vygotsky it is an important tool of thought during early childhood. • Vygotsky believed all mental funtions have social origins. • Children must use language to communicate with others before they can focus on their own thoughts. • Researchers have found support for Vygotsky’s view of the positive role of private speech in development. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    37. Evaluating and Comparing Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s Theories • Vygotsky’s theory is a social constructivist approach, which emphasizes the social contexts of learning and that knowledge is mutually built and constructed. • Piaget’s theory does not have this social emphasis. • For Piaget, children construct knowledge by transforming, organizing, and reorganizing previous knowledge. • For Vygotsky, children construct knowledge through social interaction. • The implication of Piaget’s theory for teaching is that children need support to explore their world and discover knowledge. • The implication of Vygotsky’s theory for teaching is that students need many opportunities to learn with the teacher and more skilled peers. • Vygotsky’s theory has been embraced by many teachers and successfully applied to education. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    38. Teaching Strategies Based on Vygotsky’s Theory • Use the child’s zone of proximal development in teaching. • Use scaffolding. • Use more skilled peers as teachers. • Monitor and encourage children’s use of private speech. • Assess the child’s ZPD, not IQ. • Transform the classroom with Vygotskian ideas. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    39. Information Processing • Attention • Memory • Strategies • The Young Child’s Theory of Mind Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    40. Attention • The child’s ability to pay attention changes significantly during the preschool years. • Preschool children are influenced strongly by the features of a task that stand out, or are salient. • This deficit can hinder problem solving or performing well on tasks. • By age 6 or 7, children attend more efficiently to the dimensions of a task that are relevant. • This is believed to reflect a shift in cognitive control of attention. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    41. Memory • Short-Term Memory • How Accurate Are Young Children’s Long-Term Memories? Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    42. Short-Term Memory • In short-term memory, individuals retain information for up to 15-30 seconds, assuming there is no rehearsal, which can help keep information in STM for a much longer period. • Differences in memory span occur across the ages due to: • Rehearsal: older children rehearse items more than younger children. • Speed and efficiency of processing information: the speed with which a child processes information is an important aspect of the child’s cognitive abilities. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    43. How Accurate Are Young Children’s Long-Term Memories? • Young children can remember a great deal of information if they are given appropriate cues and prompts. • Sometimes the memories of preschoolers seem to be erratic, but these inconsistencies may be to some degree the result of inadequate prompts and cues. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    44. Strategies • Strategies consist of using deliberate mental activities to improve the processing of information: • Rehearsal • Organizing information • Young children typically do not use rehearsal and organization. • Children as young as 2 can learn to use other types of strategies to process information. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    45. The Young Children’s Theory of Mind • Theory of mind refers to individuals’ thoughts about how mental processes work. • Even young children are curious about the nature of the human mind. • Children’s developing knowledge of the mind includes the awareness that: • The mind exists. • The mind has connections to the physical world. • The mind can represent objects and events accurately or inaccurately. • The mind actively interprets reality and emotions. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    46. Becoming Aware that the Mind Exists • By the age of 2 or 3, children refer to needs, emotions, and mental states. • They also use intentional action or desire words, such as wants to. • Cognitive terms such as know, remember, and think usually appear after perceptual and emotional terms, but are used by age 3. • Later children distinguish between guessing vs. knowing, believing vs. fantasizing, and intending vs. not on purpose. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    47. Understanding Cognitive Connections to the Physical World • At about 2 or 3 years of age, children develop an awareness of the connections among stimuli, mental states, and behavior. • This provides them with a rudimentary mental theory of human action. • Children can infer connections from stimuli to mental states, from mental states to behavior or emotion, and from behavior to mental states. • Children also develop an understanding that the mind is separate from the physical world. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    48. Detecting Accuracies/ Inaccuracies of the Mind • Children develop an understanding that the mind can represent objects and events accurately. • Understanding of false beliefs doesn’t usually occur until 4 or 5 years. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    49. Understanding the Mind’s Active Role in Emotion and Reality • Children develop an understanding that the mind actively mediates the interpretation of reality and the emotion experienced. • In the elementary school years, children change from viewing emotions as caused by external events without any mediation by internal states to viewing emotional reactions to an external event as influenced by a prior emotional state, experience, or expectation. Black Hawk College Chapter 8

    50. Black Hawk College Chapter 8