infants and preschoolers was analyzed with contrasting viewpoints regarding the
development of their brains and the views regarding how best to encourage the
?Fertile Minds? and ?The Day-Care Dilemma? the theories of Jean
Piaget?s cognitive-development are supported. In the latter issue, dated
focused on refuting the theories supported in the earlier issue 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
the age of 3 and 4 years old, children have attained what Piaget called
functions or "preoperations" that enable young children to perform a
these objects will be known to exist even when they are no longer present to the
beginning to identify and name colors, shapes, textures, density, and so on. At
this stage, children are beginning to understand 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
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
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 on 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
intellectual achievement, not a true reflection of the young child’s competence
(Carey, 1989). In the ?Fertile Minds? and ?The Day-Care Dilemma?
articles, neuroscientific evidence is used to comply with Piagetian theory of
preoperational stages of development. The article describes in depth how the
youngsters? (Nash, 1997, p.51) This argument is supported by hard,
quantifiable evidence in the form of PET scans. Furthermore, the use of
stated to be a means that society can use to promote the intellectual
development of young children who live in conditions that are a threat to their
brain development. In ?How to Make a Better Student,? Craig Ramey, a
brain development of young children and a preoccupation with the cognitive
musical cribs, for example, are frowned upon in this later article. Rather, this
article stresses the importance of less input and increased protection. II.
Variability of Individual Growth Rates In discussing young children’s
intellectual growth and abilities, it is difficult to overemphasize the wide
range of normal variability in the age at which they attain their new mental
powers. The article ?Fertile Minds? seems to downplay this variability by
using scientific evidence of PET scans to quantitatively describe intellectual
capability in all infants and young children. Although it is sometimes useful,
as Gesell and his coworkers have done, to talk about the characteristics of the
"3-year-old" or the "4-year-old," this can be misleading.
Although some temperamental characteristics are relatively unique to each age
group, a great deal of intellectual variability exists (Gesell, 1949). This
individual variability has sometimes been obscured by the tendency to think of
young children in temperamental, rather than intellectual terms. Benjamin Bloom
has pointed out that the preschool years are a time of very rapid intellectual
growth. One characteristic of periods of very rapid growth, intellectual or
are taller than boys of the same age, and some boys and girls mature earlier
than others. The physical variability among boys and girls in a sixth or seventh
grade classroom are incredible. In the meantime, it is critical to appreciate
that much of the variability among young children in readiness to learn has to
in misdiagnosing young children as "learning disabled" when in fact
their growth is such that they temporarily fall behind their peers (Nash, 1998).
Recognizing the normal variability in growth rates is particularly important
today when the academic pressures for achievement and testing have been pushed
(Hoffman, 1987). One consequence of this trend is that our perception of the
range of "normality" has been compressed. The more recent view
maintains agreement with the view that normal variability is ?normal? and it
is important to give children space and allowing them to explore their own
environments. The earlier article on day-care, however, stresses the increased
need of providing all children with individualized attention and specifically
?remedial education? for youngsters from disadvantaged homes (Nash, 1998).
III. Conclusive Remarks Children of 3 and 4 years of age are unique. They are at
an age of increased intellectual growth, and the range of variability of that
assessing educational progress. In disagreement with the special report on
?How to Make a Better Student? that emphasized reducing input, ignoring
cognitive-development tools, and giving children space, in dealing with young
children, it is well to keep in mind their tendency to think about the world in
concrete ways and to remember that their language ability often far exceeds
their cognitive understanding (Cole, 1998). The socialization of young children
and adults must understand when frames are spoiled, switched, or contradicted.
Young children’s emotions are simple and are expressed directly in their words
and actions. Children are most like us in their feelings and in their emotions,
and least like us in their thoughts. It is, therefore, important to treat
children with the same good manners we would accord to other adults. At the same
time, we need to remember that young children may not understand concepts the
same way we do. Put differently, we should treat young children as we might
treat a visitor from another country–with good manners, but without the
expectation that they will understand everything we have to say or be affected
from our actions even if believed to be or not be in their best interest.
Wiley. Carey, S. (1989). The child as a word learner. Linguistic theory and
a Better Student. Time, 88-89. Collins, J. (1997). The Day-Care Dilemma. Time,
58-60. Gesell, A., et.al. (1949). The first five years of life. New York:
Harper. Hoffman, M. L. (1987). Empathy: Its developmental and prosocial
Nebraska Press. Nash, J. (1997). Fertile Minds. Time, 48-56. Piaget, J. (1932).
Piaget, J. (1951). The child’s conception of the world. London: Routledge &
Routledge & Kegan Paul. Tanner, J. M. (1981). Education and physical growth.
London: University of London Press.