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5: Early Childhood
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- 5.1: Introduction to Early Childhood
- Early childhood is a time of pretending, blending fact and fiction, and learning to think of the world using language. As young children move away from needing to touch, feel, and hear about the world toward learning some basic principles about how the world works, they hold some pretty interesting initial ideas. Concepts such as time, size and distance are not easy to grasp at this young age. Understanding concepts are all tasks that are part of cognitive development in the preschool years.
- 5.2: Physical Development
- Children between the ages of 2 and 6 years tend to grow about 3 inches in height each year and gain about 4 to 5 pounds in weight each year. This growth rate is slower than that of infancy and is accompanied by a reduced appetite between the ages of 2 and 6. By age 6, the brain is at 95 percent its adult weight. Sexuality begins in childhood as a response to physical states and sensation and cannot be interpreted as similar to that of adults in any way.
- 5.3: Cognitive Development
- Piaget’s stage that coincides with early childhood is the preoperational stage. The word operational means logical, so children were thought to be illogical. However, they are learning to use language or to think of the world symbolically. The theory of mind is the understanding that the mind can be tricked or that the mind is not always accurate. Before about 4 years of age, a child does not recognize that the mind can hold ideas that are not accurate.
- 5.4: Psychosocial Development
- Early childhood is a time of forming an initial sense of self. A self-concept or idea of who we are, what we are capable of doing, and how we think and feel is a social process that involves taking into consideration how others view us. One of the ways to gain a clearer sense of self is to exaggerate those qualities that are to be incorporated into the self. Another important dimension of the self is the sense of self as male or female.
- 5.5: Family Life
- Relationships between parents and children continue to play a significant role in children’s development during early childhood. Baumrind offers a model of parenting that includes three styles: authoritarian, permissive parenting, and authoritative parenting. Lemasters and Defrain offer another model of parenting which suggest that parenting styles are often designed to meet the psychological needs of the parent rather than the developmental needs of the child.
- 5.6: Childhood Stress and Development
- Normal, everyday stress can provide an opportunity for young children to build coping skills and poses little risk to development. Even more long-lasting stressful events such as changing schools or losing a loved one can be managed fairly well. But children who experience toxic stress or who live in extremely stressful situations of abuse over long periods of time can suffer long-lasting effects. The effects of stress can be minimized if the child has the support of caring adults.
- 5.7: Labeling and Children
- 5.8: Childhood
- 5.9: Early Childhood
- 5.10: Early Childhood