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The Importance of Cognitive Development in a Child's Education

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Cognitive development is very crucial in the development of a child

A friend of mine, Julie just recently had a perfect baby boy. Since Julie found out she was pregnant she has been reading book after book, each book that she has read talks about cognitive development, but never really explains what cognitive development is or how to improve ones development. Julie has asked me to help her to understand what she can do to give Hunter the best optimal cognitive development though out his life. I'm going to start by telling Julie exactly what cognitive development is, the four stages of cognitive development and what kinds of activities to do together as he gets older.

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In a child’s development, play is an important aspect to consider. This is because ideas and concepts are learned and also, there is an enhancement of language, motor skills and social life through play. To Piaget, there are four major stages that are involved in cognitive development. Firstly, we have sensorimotor period that occurs between Zero to two years. At this stage, the child as he interacts with the environment creates sets of concepts and the operations of the reality. There is an engagement in motor movements starting with early reflexes and proceeding towards intentional actions. In most cases, these actions are trial and error. It’s through their actions that children learn that their behaviors have effects on the environment. Their actions become sophisticated as they develop hence becoming deliberate. For example, a child grasps a rattle paper in place in his hand, this can be compared to the older child who picks up and shakes a rattle to make noise. The pretend stage in most cases starts at the age of eight months. At this level, the child can act out actions and roles of an adult and some familiar events. At three or four, the skills become symbolic; the child can substitute objects for instance, a child’ feeds ‘a doll using a toy bottle. On the other hand, the older child feeds the baby using a wooden block in pretence that the block acts as the baby bottle. This level provides a good foundation for the child play as the child gets his/her own experience. Preoperational period is the second stage and it occurs between the ages of two to seven years. The child can not still abstractly conceptualize. He needs touchable situations

At the age of around three or four, constructive play interests the child. Here he or she can manipulate materials and objects in their different worlds and come up with an end product such as sand houses, clay cows sand mountains and so on. As he develops skills in manipulation of materials and objects, they sharpen his skills in thought expressions, ideas and concepts.

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Primarily, the theory is based on observable behaviors and indirectly defined theoretical constructs. These constructs assume that psychological and neurological theorizing about cognitive development will gradually coalesce (Kendler, 1995)

The premises take form of two different approaches that have been developed over the years. The first approach postulates that thinking is a universal sequence of stages, while the second approach postulates that people process information in a similar manner computers do (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008, p.13). One of the best-known examples of the first approach is Piaget’s theory of development that explains how children construct their knowledge, and how the format of their knowledge changes over time. The second approach is exemplified by Information processing theory that focuses on how computers work to explain thinking and its development through childhood and adolescence. The cognitive development theory has application in various areas such as works of Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), both being very popular quick assessments of an individual’s functioning (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2008).

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In conclusion, the focus of this course is on development of children’s cognitive skills which include thinking, memory, knowledge, discrimination, understanding, reasoning, concentration and formal learning skills

Other related areas include physical growth and development features in children. These include height, appearance, weight, co-ordination, general physical activity as well as motor skills. The main part is for learners to apply theory into practice through carrying out a case study, which is the main project. This will also help them to have increased skills and knowledge, which will enable them to link with the real world, through communication with the child, parents and others concerned.

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Kail, R.V. & Cavanaugh, J.C. (2008). Human Development: A Life-Span View. OH: Cengage Learning.

Kendler, T.S. (1995). Levels of cognitive development. NJ: Routledge.

Shaffer, D.R. & Kipp, K. (2009). Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence. Eighth edition. OH: Cengage Learning.

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