Fostering Intellectual Development in Young Children

Fostering Intellectual Development in Young Children

Fostering Intellectual Development in Young Children

Fostering Intellectual Development in Young Children

Excerpt

How much do today's young children know? How much could they know if nursery schools and kindergartens were to place a stronger emphasis on intellectual development? What limits do the thought processes of most three-, four-, and five-year-old children place on the uses to which they put the information they are acquiring? What kinds of information do the children themselves seek? What are their confusions as they try to make themselves part of a going concern--the world into which they have been born?

Views of students of childhood education today differ somewhat on the nature of intellectual development at early ages. There are many unanswered questions both as to what young children can know and should know. Kenneth Wann, Miriam Dorn, Elizabeth Liddle, and their associates in the New York City area have undertaken a useful piece of work in determining where a great many young children are in their understanding of the world and in finding out how much further these children can go. They have shown how observant teachers can follow along, so to speak, ahead of the children, helping them to clarify, organize, and extend meanings as they reach out for understanding.

Because these authors realize that concept development is a gradual and life-long process, they do not propose that nursery school and kindergarten children be kept on ice until some magic day when they are ready for certain advanced ways of thinking. Neither do they make the opposite mistake of expecting these young children to do sophisticated categorizing of information or handle complicated cause-effect relationships. Instead, the authors of this book have attempted to find out how young children deal with information and to give them op-

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