Analyzation of the Intellectual Development of Young Children

Intellectual Development of Young Children.

In two separate issues of “Time” magazine, the intellectual development of infants and preschoolers was analyzed with contrasting viewpoints regarding the development of their brains and the views regarding how best to encourage the cognitive abilities of these young children. In the earlier issue, dated February 3, 1997, the special report consisting of two articles titled “Fertile Minds” and “The Day-Care Dilemma” the theories of Jean Piaget”s cognitive-development are supported. In the latter issue, dated October 19, 1998, the special report titled “How to Make a Better Student” focused on refuting the theories supported in the earlier issue of this magazine.

Understanding the influence of Piaget”s and other”s views on the intellectual development of young children on the contrasting views of this topic and how it reflects contemporary opinions on how young children should be raised is the focus of this paper. Hopefully, these contrasting articles will provide a more holistic understanding of Piagetian theory and its application to real-life situations.

I. Children’s Intellectual Development: Preoperations By the age of 3 and 4 years old, children have attained what Piaget called functions or “pre-operation” that enable young children to perform a number of feats far beyond the capabilities of infants (Piaget, 1950). Infants concentrate on constructing a world of permanent objects. Once constructed, these objects will be known to exist even when they are no longer present to the infant’s senses. Preschool children, in contrast, are constructing a world of qualities and properties that different objects share in common. They are beginning to identify and name colors, shapes, textures, density, and so on. At this stage, children are beginning to understand the same and different as these terms refer to properties. At the same time, it is necessary to recognize that these classes are formed only on the basis of perceptual attributes such as color and form and not on the basis of any quantitative characteristics.

Moreover, although children can name and identify members of different classes cow, dog, or car, they cannot as yet operate on these categories in a systematic way. That is to say, they cannot logically add categories and recognize that cats, dogs, and cows are all animals. Nor can they logically multiply classes and appreciate that a cat is both a cat and an animal at the same time. In short, the one-many or quantitative dimension of classes escapes young children. Only when they have attained the concrete operations of childhood (age 6 to 7 years) will they begin to be able to coordinate sameness and difference and arrive at the notion of a unit that is basic to all quantitative thinking. A unit, for example, a number 3, is at once like every other number in that it is a number but also different in that it is the only number that comes after 2 and before 4. Once children have a notion of a unit, they can engage in numerical as well as logical addition and multiplication (Gesell, 1949).

The young child’s limitation with respect to operating in classes is most evident when we ask them to define a word. Young children routinely define words by describing their functions; an apple is to eat; a bike is to ride. Only when they attain concrete operations at about the age of 6 or 7 years will they begin to define terms by nesting them in higher order classes, where an apple is a fruit, and a bike has wheels–you go places with it. Occasionally young children may define a word by placing it within a broader context, but this is often an anticipation of later intellectual achievement, not a true reflection of the young child’s competence (Carey, 1989). In the “Fertile Minds” and “The Day-Care Dilemma” articles, the neuroscientific evidence is used to comply with a Piagetian theory of preoperational stages of development.

Get a 10 % discount on an order above $ 100
Use the following coupon code :