|Type of paper:
|Child development Language development Cognitive development
Cognition is the mental action of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. This process is gradual and takes time for it to develop. There are four stages that mark cognitive development in children as explained by Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development. This paper analyses five activities that can be used to improve the cognitive ability of children as well as their language competence.
The stages of development begin with the sensorimotor stage which ranges between birth to the age of 2 years. In this stage, the infant becomes accustomed to their surrounding through their movements and sensory organs. The child mainly reacts to the world by some basic instincts such as sucking, touching grasping, looking and listening. In this stage, the baby learns how to draw a line between the objects and the humans and begin to show interest to the people who are close to them. The second stage is the preoperational stage where the baby can now relate with the symbols and pictures that they have formed in their minds after certain experiences with stimuli around them. The children also have a lot of self-worth and tend to become jealous and want all the things to themselves. Their language and thinking also improve drastically. The third stage is the concrete operational stage and it ranges between 7 to 11 years. In this stage, the child can arrange their thoughts in a logical manner which further triggers the concept of conservation. Their reasoning capacity also increases and they can relate to many concepts. The final stage is the formal operational stage that ranges from the age of 12 and continues from there. It is characterized by ethical, moral, social-political among many other aspects that one considers before making a choice (Carey et al, 2015).
Activities That Promote Cognitive Development and Language skills
As discussed above, the children in between the ages of three to five years can relate to the symbols that are around them. They begin to show an understanding of the complex activities that happen around them. They also begin to use logic to solve some of their problems and make decisions. It is crucial that the teachers and the parents or guardians enhance this stage of development. The parents may take several activities that will be discussed below to enhance the cognitive development of the children. They are listed as follows:
This is the use of things that represent other concepts as the child plays. In such games, the child may learn about the working of the environment around them. In such plays, a box could be used to represent a telephone, a carton could represent a car among other examples. In so doing, the child may earn about the functioning of the real world using the representations (Athey, 2018). The first stage of development is the act of taking in a schema into the mind. After the schema is taken into the mind, it is assimilated into the mind. It is the symbolic play that makes it possible and easier for the schema to be assimilated and easily relatable to. In a case where a schema is not repeated after a long time, then it is forgotten as the brain is not using it. There are several means that the tutors may use to achieve symbolic play. One of the common means is the use of boxes from locally available material such as candy, used up paint cans among other easily available materials. One may also provide them with stuffed animals or dolls that they can use to represent the adult activities such as farming. It also helps them wrap their mind around their emotions since the interaction with the "animals" is bound to reveal some feelings in them. The adults may also provide them with some adult clothes that make them feel more mature and look like their adult role models. It is also an essential means that can be used to enhance symbolic play.
Using the above play toys, the tutors may make scenarios that resemble those that are present in real life such as grocery stores, shops, post offices among others. The children may then learn how the real-life concepts apply using the model. An example of such an achievement is when a child learns that when they go to a supermarket, they are supposed to pay for the goods that they pick up on the shelves.
Sing along songs
These are the songs that have an easy and repeatable pattern that children like. In the songs, there can be sounds that are similar to those produced by animals or other common features that make them more enjoyable. The songs should also increase in complexity as the children mature since the content that they have should also increase. In the process of singing, the children wrap their minds around new words and some of the common phrases that they can use as language skills (Reid et al, 2017). The songs also increase the cognitive development by adding new schema into the mind of the child. The songs increase the comprehension of language and enable them to understand some of the common questions. Some excellent examples of sing-along songs include Bean Bag Hello, Bedbug Song, Big Blue Boat among others.
The children may also be allowed to play with simple musical instruments such as drumsticks, drums among others. For example, a tutor may tap on the drum and ask the children to count. In this way, the children have an easier and more exciting way to learn compared to the obvious classroom study. The instruments also make the sing-along songs more exciting. As a result, the children do not find it hard to forget the songs which are good for their cognitive development.
Simple Problem Solving
As the children grow up, they should be introduced to simple problems in the various aspects and subjects they are taking. In the beginning, the problems should be easy and the level of complexity should advance as they practice more (Saxe, 2015). The logic applied in the questions should be easy and relatable to the children. It means that the problems should be based on the knowledge that the children have but not complex things that are not easy to know. The reason for this is to make it easy for the children to understand the questions. In addition to that, the children should be tested with questions that relate to the moral set up. In this way, the children learn to fit into the community that they are in. The moral obligations of the children should be mildly introduced during this age and advance as the children grow. The introduction of the problems to the teaching activities makes it easy for the children to have greater cognitive ability. As the complexity of the questions increases, the children learn to express themselves in better ways and using the previously acquired language skills.
Visiting Interesting places
As the children develop, they should be exposed to different environments such as parks, different schools among other interesting places. As the children go to those areas, they have exposure to new knowledge (Haeyen, 2018). They also have greater experience of their feelings. As they travel to various places, some experiences may lead to them being happy, sad, jealous among other feelings. As a result, they are able to know how to deal with the emotions with the guidance of adults. In addition to that, the children learn certain virtues such as sharing as they interact with the other children. The language skills of the children also increase drastically as they are exposed to new terms in the places that they visit. The places should, however, be checked to avoid inappropriate language. Children have a very retentive memory and may not forget the terms that are inappropriate. The right precautions should be taken to ensure that they are protected against the negative effects.
Tutors and parents should tell the children stories either from books or real life experiences. The stories make the children more exposed to language usage (Corrie, 2018). It also exposes them to feel such as love, fear, joy among others. The stories also serve to teach them lessons about the importance of having certain traits such as honesty. The tutors should also give the children a chance to tell their stories. The tutors may ask the baby to narrate their encounters on previous experiences such as when they visit a park or their encounters in school. This is essential in making the children understand the means that they cause to express their ideas. It is therefore essential in the enhancement of language skills in the children.
Children have the most vigorous form of development and have a lot to learn about the world and their surroundings. There are four stages of development according to Jean Piaget. The children can be involved in several activities that are aimed at increasing their cognitive ability and their language skills. The activities include telling stories, simple problem solving, visiting interesting places, sing-along songs and symbolic play. The following activities make the child more exposed to new stimuli and new feelings that make them more cognitively developed. The activities also increase their language skills as they get exposed to new terms. It is therefore essential that tutors and guardians take the following measures for their children.
Athey, I. (2018). Contributions of play to develop. In Child's play (pp. 8-28). Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351582018/chapters/10.4324%2F9781315099071-2
Carey, S., Zaitchik, D., & Bascandziev, I. (2015). Theories of development: In dialogue with Jean Piaget. Developmental Review, 38, 36-54. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273229715000313
Corrie, S. (2018). Constructing stories, telling tales: A guide to the formulation in applied psychology. Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780429897948
Haeyen, S. (2018). Introduction to Schema-Focused Therapy Module. In Art Therapy and Emotion Regulation Problems (pp. 285-313). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-96773-8_12
Reid, A. G., Rakhilin, M., Patel, A. D., Urry, H. L., & Thomas, A. K. (2017). New technology for studying the impact of regular singing and song learning on cognitive function in older adults: A feasibility study. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 27(2), 132. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-96773-8
Saxe, G. B. (2015). Culture and cognitive development: Studies in mathematical understanding. Psychology Press. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781317728092
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