cognitive development (ages one through three)
From the moment of conception each human being goes through different developmental processes and changes as they grow older . The most obvious changes are usually those of physical growth and development which manifests itself in several ways . As a person gets older his physical size changes and this is one of the external demonstrators of development . Human development , as we know , does not involve only these physical changes over time . A person also develops mentally psychological , cognitively , socially and in other areas as well Especially for [banner_entry_middle]
early childhood educators , identifying and understanding the cognitive changes that take place in children is a necessary prerequisite for an understanding of the intricacies of each child at their particular age . Such an understanding also becomes essential for adults in general in their interactions with children if such interactions are to be meaningful
Wakefield (1996 ) broadly defines cognitive development as the progressive change .in perception , memory and thinking . This refers to the increase in the intellectual ability of an individual as it relates to their use of reasoning or perception . As a child gets older once he is not mentally or physically challenged it is anticipated that his intellectual abilities will increase to a progressively greater degree . Of course the rate , time and pace of such intellectual development may vary from individual to individual but psychologists usually believe that cognitive development is an automatic process for all persons . No individual remains at the same stage of cognitive development that he was born in . Whatever factors contribute to his cognitive development , there must be demonstrated change over time , even if this change occurs slowly . Cognitive development does not take place independent of other factors that are going on with the child at his particular age . Theorists all acknowledge that social , emotional physical and other environmental factors also have an impact on the rate , time and pace of cognitive development
Knowledge of the theories that have been put forward to explain the cognitive developmental process , is a useful starting point to understanding the cognitive processes of very young children particularly from ages one through to three . However , given the number of theories and theorists that have attempted to explain the process of cognitive development , it is evident that no one theory or theorist has covered the entire scope of cognitive development . Be that as it may , it should not be taken for granted that one theory is better than another simply because it offers another perspective . Each theory is relevant in its own right and an understanding of its fundamental concepts can help broaden understanding of the complex issues related to early childhood cognitive development
Theorists such as Jean Piaget , Howard Gardner and Lev Vygotsky , among others , have all sought to give their take on how children develop cognitively . Piaget , trained in the natural sciences , was primarily interested in understanding the thought processes of children . This interest led to his numerous psychological researches to understand this phenomenon
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