When we talk about Early Childhood Education as an approach, we talk about holistic development of a young child. Researchers and neuroscientist have proved that development in first five years is at its peak. You name the domain of development, and there is so much to talk about. Let us walk you through one such crucial domain of development today. This article shall help you understand about ways in which preschool support key cognitive milestones for your preschoolers.
As a parent of a preschooler, you would know that children are curious right from the time they are born. And it is one of our primary responsibility to feed their curiosity as adults. At the preschool age, they now can explore new ways to play, acquire new skills and learn new concepts. In order for them to succeed, we need to build key goals for their cognitive development.
Preschools design their curriculum in such a way that they cater to every domain of development leading to holistic approach. Here are some key areas that preschools generally focus for cognitive development:
1. Reasoning and problem solving:
Preschool classrooms are full of learning opportunities. Discussions often include open-ended questions facilitated by the teachers and equipment that allows children to understand the world around them. Preschoolers who are 3-4 years do not think logically. Piaget has stated that the understanding is developed based on what they see and not based on logic, during pre operational stage. Hence preschool curriculum allows your preschooler to apply simple formula of trial and error to understand the world around them. The teachers will stimulate their curiosity using range of manipulative equipment.
2. Symbolic and imaginative play:
This is such important part of preschoolers’s life. It’s simply part of their life. Giving symbolic representation to objects or humans appeals them and it appears to be fun for adults. However it is important to understand that it is not just fun but a process of learning for your preschoolers. As children get older less time is spent in actual play and more time is spent in negotiating the plot and each other’s roles (Lillard 2002). The preschool curriculum rightly taps on to it by giving children various opportunities to participate in pretend play.
Preschool becomes of utmost importance at this stage because children learn and remember at the best of their ability. A longitudinal study of 98 elementary school children found that memory at the start of formal education is a greater predictor of academic success than IQ (Alloway & Alloway, 2010). Additionally, episodic memory develops rapidly in the preschool period and is an integral part of cognitive development (Bauer, Leventon, & Varga, 2012).They can also learn new concepts very easily. It is important for preschoolers to remember about certain events or people. Preschool helps preschoolers achieve these skills through activities like reinforcing a story, sequencing the event in the story and recollecting about the characters from the story.
4. Pre-academic skills: (Colours, Numbers and Alphabets)
Preschoolers (3-4 years) find it difficult to comprehend number concepts like making logical connections between numerals and quantity that they represent. However, Kindergarteners (5-6 years) can hold information for longer and can start making comparisons. The activities in preschool progress as per the given age of your child. The activities are designed to cater pre literacy and pre math skills. The pre literacy skills includes phonics sounds, participating in read aloud sessions, letter introduction, object association, following commands. The pre math skills includes number identification, matching, ordering, sequencing, sorting, colour recognition, shape recognition.
At this very age, every child should be discovering the joy of learning so that he will be self-motivated when his formal education begins. The preschools choose best approach to offer your child a wide range of learning opportunities and helping them develop in these key cognitive milestones at the same time. This can in turn also help to nurture their special interests and talents.