What is myelination?

Respond to the following questions. This assignment is worth 5  points. Make sure that you use complete sentences, college-level grammar  and that you have completely thought about your response.

  1. What is myelination? What is the role of myelin in physical development?
  2. What are centration and conservation according to Piaget? How are centration and conservation related?
  3. Tisha is talking to her grandmother on the phone when she sees a  beautiful cardinal light on the tree branch just outside the window. She  says, “Look, Grammy, look at the bird!” What would Piaget call this  error?
    • Rowen has two teddy bears. He talks to them and they talk to each  other. They all eat lunch together and have fine conversations. What  would Piaget call this behavior?
    • Three-year-old Johnny is crying. His mother gave both he and his  one-year-old brother a cookie, but she broke his baby brother’s cookie  into two pieces which Johnny believes gave him more. What would Piaget  call this error?
  4. According to Vygotsky, how should you teach a young child to ride a two-wheeled bicycle?


Respond to the following. This assignment is worth 5 points. Make  sure that you use complete sentences, college-level grammar and that you  have completely thought about your response.

  1. When do children understand that different people can feel differently about an event?
  2. Mom is in a hurry. It is always a rule that she and Les say  goodbye to the puppy before leaving the house, but there is no time  today. Les whines, complains and cries concerning the rule that was  broken. According to Piaget Les is exhibiting _________________ moral  reasoning.
  3. At what age are boys more liking to play with larger groups of  boys while girls still tend to prefer to play with one or two friends?
  4. Give an example, not the definition, of authoritarian parenting,  authoritative parenting, neglectful parenting, and indulgent parenting.  Describe the children of each type of parent.


    John W. Santrock

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    Chapter 7

    Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood

    ©McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. Authorized only for instructor use in the classroom.  No reproduction or further distribution permitted without the prior written consent of McGraw-Hill Education.


    Chapter Outline

    Physical Changes

    Cognitive Changes

    Language Development

    Early Childhood Education


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.



    Physical Changes

    Body growth and change

    Motor development


    Nutrition and exercise

    Illness and death


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    Body Growth and Change (1 of 2)

    Height and weight

    Average growth is 2.5 inches and 5–10 pounds per year during early childhood.

    Growth patterns vary individually.

    Two most important contributors to height differences

    Ethnic origin


    Growth hormone deficiency: absence of growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the body to grow


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    Body Growth and Change (2 of 2)

    The brain

    Brain growth slows during early childhood.

    Brain reaches 95 percent of adult volume by 6 years.

    Changes in child’s brain structure

    Myelination: nerve cells are covered and insulated with a layer of fat cells

    Increases speed at which information travels through nervous system

    Rapid, distinct spurts of growth, especially in the frontal lobes


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    A Myelinated Nerve Fiber

    ©Steve Gschmeissner/Science Source



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    Motor Development (1 of 3)

    Most preschool children are more active than they will ever be at any later period in the life span.

    Gross motor skills

    Simple movements at age 3

    More adventurous at age 4

    Hair-raising risks at age 5


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    Motor Development (2 of 3)

    Fine motor skills

    Still clumsy at 3 years

    Improved fine motor coordination at 4 years

    Body coordination by 5 years


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    Motor Development (3 of 3)

    Perceptual development

    Age 3–4 years: detection of boundaries between colors

    Age 4–5 years: children can focus eyes and sustain attention effectively on close-up objects


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    Recommended sleep: 11–13 hours each night without interruption

    Disorders: narcolepsy, insomnia, nightmares

    Sleep problems and negative outcomes

    Attention problems

    Worse school readiness

    more so with increased screen time

    Being overweight

    Social problems


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    Nutrition and Exercise (1 of 2)

    Overweight young children

    Serious health problems in early childhood

    Strongly influenced by caregivers’ behavior

    Categories for obesity, overweight, and at risk for being overweight

    Determined by body mass index (BMI)

    United States has second highest rate of childhood obesity.


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    Nutrition and Exercise (2 of 2)

    Malnutrition in young children from low-income families

    11 million preschool children are experiencing malnutrition.

    Biggest problem is iron deficiency anemia

    Exercise should occur daily.


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    Illness and Death (1 of 2)

    The United States

    Leading causes of death in U.S. children are

    Accidents (unintentional injuries)

    Congenital malformations


    Chromosomal abnormalities

    Children’s safety

    Environmental tobacco smoke


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Illness and Death (2 of 2)

    State of illness and health of the world’s children

    Devastating effects of health occur in countries with high poverty rates.

    Dramatic increase in deaths due to HIV/AIDS, especially in poor countries.

    ©Kent Page/AP Images



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    Cognitive Changes

    Piaget’s preoperational stage

    Vygotsky’s theory

    Information processing


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    Piaget’s Preoperational Stage (1 of 3)

    Preoperational stage

    Piaget’s second stage

    Ages 2–7 years

    Children represent the world with words, images, and drawings.

    Form stable concepts and begin to reason

    Cognitions are dominated by egocentrism and magical beliefs

    “The Symbolic Drawings of Young Children,” Courtesy of D. Wolf and J. Nove. Copyright Dennie Palmer Wolf, Annenberg Institute, Brown University. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    A 3 year old draws a symbolic pelican and an 11 year old draws a realistic tree.


    Piaget’s Preoperational Stage (2 of 3)

    Operations: reversible mental actions that allow children to do mentally what they formerly did physically

    Symbolic function substage: child gains the ability to mentally represent an object that is not present

    Egocentrism: inability to distinguish one’s own perspective from someone else’s

    Animism: belief that inanimate objects have lifelike qualities and are capable of action


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    Piaget’s Preoperational Stage (3 of 3)

    Intuitive thought substage: children use primitive reasoning and want to know the answers to questions.

    Ages 4–7 years

    Centration and the limits of preoperational thought

    Centration: centering attention on one characteristic to the exclusion of all others

    Conservation: altering a substance’s appearance does not change its basic properties


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    The Three Mountains Task


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    Piaget’s Conservation Task

    Access the text alternative for this image.

    ©Tony Freeman/PhotoEdit



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    Some Dimensions of Conservation: Number, Matter, and Length (1 of 4)

    Type of Conservation: number

    Initial Presentation: two identical rows of objects are shown to the child, who agrees they have same number

    Manipulation: one row is lengthened, and child is asked whether one row now has more objects.

    Preoperational Child’s Answer: “Yes, the longer row”




    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Some Dimensions of Conservation: Number, Matter, and Length (2 of 4)

    Type of Conservation: matter

    Initial Presentation: two identical balls of clay are shown to the child. The child agrees they are equal.

    Manipulation: experimenter changes the shape of one ball and asks child whether they still contain equal amounts of clay

    Preoperational Child’s Answer: “No, the longer one has more”



    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Some Dimensions of Conservation: Number, Matter, and Length (3 of 4)

    Type of Conservation: length

    Initial Presentation: two sticks are aligned in front of the child. Child agrees they are the same length.

    Manipulation: experimenter moves one stick to the right, then asks child if they are equal in length

    Preoperational Child’s Answer: “No, the one on the top is longer”



    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Some Dimensions of Conservation: Number, Matter, and Length (4 of 4)


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    Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (1 of 2)

    Children think and understand primarily through social interaction.

    Zone of proximal development (ZPD): range of tasks too difficult for the child alone but that can be learned with guidance

    Scaffolding: changing the level of support


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    Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (2 of 2)

    ©Ariel Skelley/Blend Images


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    Vygotsky’s Theory (1 of 3)

    Language and thought

    Children use speech to communicate socially and to help them solve tasks.

    Private speech: use of language for self-regulation

    Inner speech becomes their thoughts

    More private speech = more social competence


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Vygotsky’s Theory (2 of 3)

    Teaching strategies: Vygotsky’s theory can be applied to education

    Assess child’s ZPD

    Use the child’s ZPD in teaching

    Use more-skilled peers as teachers

    Place instruction in meaningful context

    Transform classroom with Vygotskian ideas


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Vygotsky’s Theory (3 of 3)

    Evaluating Vygotsky’s theory

    Social constructivist approach: emphasizes social contexts of learning and asserts that knowledge is mutually built and constructed through social interaction


    Not specific enough about age-related changes

    Does not describe how changes in socioemotional capabilities contribute to cognitive development

    Overemphasized the role of language in thinking


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Comparison of Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s Theories

    Sociocultural Context Strong Emphasis Little Emphasis
    Constructivism Social constructivist Cognitive constructivist
    Stages No general stages of development proposed Strong emphasis on stages (sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational)
    Key Processes Zone of proximal development, language, dialogue, tools of the culture Schema, assimilation, accommodation, operations, conservation, classification
    Role of Language A major role; language plays a powerful role in shaping thought Language has a minimal role; cognition primarily directs language
    View on Education Education plays a central role, helping children learn the tools of the culture Education merely refines the child’s cognitive skills that have already emerged
    Teaching Implications Many opportunities for children to learn with the teacher and more-skilled peers Also views teacher as a facilitator and guide, not a director; provide support for children to explore their world and discover knowledge


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    Information Processing (1 of 3)

    Attention: focusing of mental resources on select information

    Executive attention

    Action planning

    Allocating attention to goals

    Error detection and compensation

    Monitoring progress on tasks

    Dealing with difficult circumstances


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Information Processing (2 of 3)

    Sustained attention: focused and extended engagement with object, task, event, or other aspect of the environment

    Deficiencies in attention

    Salient versus relevant dimensions

    Planfulness of attention

    Six-year-olds have fragmentary planfulness of attention

    Older children are more detailed and accurate.



    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Information Processing (3 of 3)

    Memory: retention of information over time

    Short term: individuals can retain information up to 30 seconds with no rehearsal

    Assessing short-term memory

    Memory-span task


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    Developmental Changes in Memory Span


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    Information Processing (1 of 4)

    How accurate are young children’s long-term memories?

    There are age differences in children’s susceptibility to suggestion.

    There are individual differences in susceptibility.

    Interviewing techniques can produce substantial distortions in children’s reports about highly salient events.

    Accuracy of testimony is dependent on type, number, and intensity of suggestive techniques experienced


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Information Processing (2 of 4)

    Autobiographical memory

    Involves memory of significant events and experiences in one’s life

    In some areas (remembering a story, a song, or interesting event or experience), young children have been shown to have reasonably good memories.


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Information Processing (3 of 4)

    Executive functioning: higher-level cognitive processes linked to the development of the brain’s prefrontal cortex

    Children manage thoughts to engage in goal-directed behavior and self-control.

    “The Marshmallow Experiment”

    Using self-distraction to delay gratification for the purpose of receiving two marshmallows on a researcher’s return linked to later success in life


    ©Amy Kiley Photography


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Information Processing (4 of 4)

    Theory of mind: awareness of one’s own mental process and the mental processes of others

    Developmental changes

    Age 18 months to 3 years: children begin to understand three mental states

    Perceptions, desires, and emotions

    Age 3–5 years: children understand false beliefs

    Age 5–9 years: deepening appreciation of the mind

    Age 7+ years: understand the beliefs and thoughts of others

    Individual differences and factors influencing Theory of Mind

    Executive function and advances in prefrontal cortex functioning

    Language development

    Higher socioeconomic status family

    Children with autism have difficulty developing a theory of mind.



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    Developmental Changes in False-Belief Performance


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    Language Development

    Understanding phonology and morphology

    Changes in syntax and semantics

    Advances in pragmatics

    Young children’s literacy


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    Understanding Phonology and Morphology

    During preschool years, children

    Become sensitive to the sounds of spoken words

    Produce all the sounds of their language

    Demonstrate a knowledge of morphology rules

    Use plurals, possessives, prepositions, articles, and verb forms


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Stimuli in Berko’s Study of Young Children’s Understanding of Morphological Rules

    Young children can intuit morphological rules.

    Children were shown pictures of a bird-like “wug.”

    When asked what two of them were, children responded, “Wugs.”


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Changes in Syntax and Semantics (1 of 2)

    Fast mapping: process in which young children learn the connection between a word and its referent quickly

    Learn and apply rules of syntax


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    Changes in Syntax and Semantics (2 of 2)

    Six key principles in young children’s vocabulary development

    Children learn the words

    They hear most often

    For things and events that interest them

    Better in responsive and interactive contexts than in passive contexts

    Best in contexts that are meaningful

    Best when they access clear information about word meaning

    Best when grammar and vocabulary are considered


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Advances in Pragmatics

    Adapt their speech in different settings

    Young children’s literacy

    Positive orientation toward reading and writing must be developed.

    Importance of early language skills

    Phonological awareness

    Readiness for school

    Reading achievement in high school


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Young Children’s Literacy

    Books can be valuable tool

    Use books to initiate conversation

    Use “what” and “why” questions

    Encourage children to ask questions about stories

    Include books that play with language


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Early Childhood Education (1 of 2)

    Variations in early childhood education


    Education for young children who are disadvantaged


    Controversies in early childhood education


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    Early Childhood Education (2 of 2)

    Education for young children who are disadvantaged

    Project Head Start: compensatory program designed to provide children from low-income families

    Opportunity to acquire the skills and experiences important for success in school

    Controversies in early childhood education

    Curriculum controversy

    Academic approaches pressure young children to achieve, don’t provide chances to actively construct knowledge, and don’t focus on cognitive and socioemotional development.

    Universal preschool education

    Critics: more important to improve preschool education for disadvantaged children.

    Controversy continues around implementing universal preschool education.



    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Variations in Early Childhood Education (1 of 2)

    Child-centered kindergarten: education of the whole child and concern for his or her physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development

    Kindergartens focused on developmental status of 4 and 5 year olds emphasize experimenting, exploring, discovering, trying out, restructuring, speaking, and listening.

    Montessori approach: child is given freedom and spontaneity in choosing activities and develops cognitive skills

    Criticisms: it deemphasizes verbal interactions, restricts imaginative play, and may not allow for creativity and a variety of learning styles



    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Variations in Early Childhood Education (2 of 2)

    Developmentally appropriate and inappropriate education

    Developmentally appropriate practice (DAP): typical developmental patterns of children and the uniqueness of each child

    Generalizing about developmentally appropriate education is challenging.

    Developmentally appropriate education is an evolving concept.

    Sociocultural factors are taking on more importance.

    Consideration about teacher’s involvement


    ©McGraw-Hill Education.

    Accessibility Content: Text Alternatives for Images



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    Piaget’s Conservation Task Text Alternative

    Piaget’s conservation task tests a child’s ability to think operationally or mentally reverse actions and understand the concept of conservation. A child watches liquid poured from a short beaker into a taller, thinner one. When asked which has more liquid, the child points to the taller and thinner one, demonstrating a lack of conservation. The child doesn’t yet understand that the amount of liquid doesn’t change because of the beaker’s shape.

    Return to slide containing original image.


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    Developmental Changes in False-Belief Performance Text Alternative

    By age 5, most children realize that people can have false beliefs contradicting reality. Two-and-a-half-year-olds gave incorrect responses about 80 percent of the time. At almost 4, they were correct about 50 percent of the time, and after that responses were increasingly correct.

    Return to slide containing original image.


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