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Cognitive Development

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					Cognitive Development
Babies are motivated, curious and competent learners right from            Relationships are at the center of early cognitive development.
the start. They are natural scientists. Cognitive development is           Young infants are fascinated with their caregivers’ faces and voices.
the building of concept knowledge and thinking skills. Children            They learn through give and take interaction. As infants grow older,
come into the world eager to learn. Through relationships, active          they use attachment relationships as a secure base for exploration.
exploration and experiences, infants and toddlers make discoveries         They also become interested in showing and giving things to
about the world, figure out how things work, imitate others, try           adults. At the toddler age, children ask questions and share
out new behaviors, share meaning, learn social rules and solve             meaning with their caregivers.
problems. Like scientists, young children uncover the mysteries
of the world. Through play and self-initiated practice, they build         To promote cognitive development, caregivers should take cues
concepts and develop their thinking skills.                                from infants and be responsive to the children’s interests and
                                                                           needs. Research has documented that responsive care has a
Cognitive development grows hand in hand with the other                    positive influence on children’s long range cognitive development.
developmental domains. Healthy and emotionally secure infants              In addition, caregivers need to set up an environment that is both
can focus on exploration and learning. Infants’ growing ability            appropriate and challenging for the age and stage of each child.
to move their bodies allows them to explore environments and               For children with disabilities or other special needs, specific
manipulate materials in increasingly complex ways. As infants and          adaptations to their abilities are necessary. The environment
toddlers build concepts, language gives them a means to represent          should be well organized and predictable. Providing a rich              45
ideas and share meaning with others. Symbolic play not only                selection of age appropriate, easily accessible materials allows
enables children to experiment with concepts, it also gives them           all infants and toddlers to pursue their passion for learning
a means to explore social roles and feelings. The knowledge and            and discovery.
thinking skills that children build during the first three years of life
prepare them to continue to learn during the preschool years and
become ready for school.




Cognitive development is the building of thinking skills.
          Cognitive Development

Guideline: Discoveries of Infancy
The child will develop an understanding of his or her world through exploration and discovery while developing strategies to
solve problems.
                                    Birth - 8 months                          6 - 18 months                         16 - 36 months
• Group and categorize:        In the beginning of this period,        In the beginning of this period,        In the beginning of this period,
  The child will learn         I automatically respond in              I can tell the difference between       I can group objects into two
  to group people and          distinguishing between familiar         familiar and unfamiliar people,         distinct classes. By the end of this
  objects based on their       and unfamiliar people. By the           objects and places. By the end of       period, I can sort multiple objects
  attributes.                  end of this period, I can tell the      this period, I can group objects        by their properties and uses.
                               difference between familiar and         into two distinct groups.
                               unfamiliar people, objects                                                      For example, I may…
                               and places.                             For example, I may…                     …put toy cars in one pile and air-
                                                                       …demonstrate anxiety or fear              planes in another.
                               For example, I may…                       toward unfamiliar faces or people.    …point out all of the blue plates at
                               …turn toward the sight, smell           …indicate that birds, dogs and            the lunch table.
                                 or sound of my mom.                     horses are all animals, while cars    …label the big animals "mama" and      46
                               …look back and forth between              are not.                                the small animals "baby."
                                 people or objects, as if              …remember the steps that make up        …put all of the red pegs in one
                                 comparing them.                         my nightly bath routine: clothes        bowl, the white pegs in another
                               …be able to tell the difference           off, wash hair, wash body, dry off.     bowl and the green pegs in a
                                 between friendly and unfriendly       …put toy cars in one pile and             third bowl.
                                 voices.                                 airplanes in another.
                               …explore objects by mouthing,
                                 banging, shaking or hitting
                                 them.
                               …snuggle happily with my special
                                 blanket when I find it in a pile of
                                 fresh laundry.
                               …demonstrate anxiety or fear
                                 toward unfamiliar faces or people.
                               …bat or kick at water, then act
                                 surprised by the splash.
                               …shake a rattle repeatedly to make
                                 the sound continue.
          Cognitive Development


Guideline: Discoveries of Infancy
The child will develop an understanding of his or her world through exploration and discovery while developing strategies to
solve problems.

                                    Birth - 8 months                        6 - 18 months                        16 - 36 months
• Cause and effect:            In the beginning of this period, I    In the beginning of this period, I     In the beginning of this period,
  The child will make          respond automatically to things       use simple actions to make things      I purposefully try behaviors to
  things happen and            that happen in my environment.        happen. By the end of this period, I   make things happen. By the end
  understand the causes        By the end of this period, I use      purposefully try behaviors to make     of this period, I think of ways to
  of some events.              simple actions to make things         things happen.                         solve problems and don't have to
                               happen.                                                                      act out possible solutions. I also
                                                                     For example, I may…                    understand that events have
                               For example, I may…                   …shake a rattle repeatedly to make     a cause.
                               …explore objects by mouthing,           the sound continue.
                                 banging, shaking or hitting them.   …use a wooden spoon, pots and          For example, I may…
                               …look at my own hand.                   pans, in various combinations, to    …touch different parts of a musical
                               …grasp a toy in my hand.                make sounds over and over again.       toy to make the music start again.   47
                               …bat or kick at water, then act       …engage in trial-and-error learning.   …choose only rings with holes
                                 surprised by the splash.            …drop objects from different             when playing with a
                               …shake a rattle repeatedly to make      heights and positions.                 ring-stacking toy.
                                 the sound continue.                 …pull a string attached to a toy to    …say, "Lucile fall down" when I
                                                                       bring the toy closer.                  see a peer crying.
                                                                     …touch or bang the handle of a         …communicate about what makes
                                                                       jack-in-the-box, then hand it back     a pop-up toy go.
                                                                       to my caregiver to make it pop.
                                                                     …touch different parts of a musical
                                                                       toy to make the music start again.
           Cognitive Development

Guideline: Discoveries of Infancy
The child will develop an understanding of his or her world through exploration and discovery while developing strategies to
solve problems.
                                    Birth - 8 months                       6 - 18 months                           16 - 36 months
• Problem solving:             In the beginning of this period,    In the beginning of this period, I         In the beginning of this period,
  The child will use the       I respond automatically to my       actively use my body to find out           I use simple strategies to solve
  self, objects or others      environment. By the end of this     about my world. By the end of              problems. By the end of this
  to attain a goal.            period, I actively use my body to   this period, I use simple strategies       period, I can solve problems
                               find out about my world.            to solve problems.                         without having to try every
                                                                                                              possibility, while avoiding
                               For example, I may…                 For example, I may…                        solutions that clearly won't work.
                               …cry to get my needs met.           …touch or mouth the hair of
                               …explore objects by mouthing,         another person.                          For example, I may…
                                 banging, shaking or               …move around to the side of the            …try several ways to reach a ball
                                 hitting them.                       aquarium so I can see the fish better.     that is stuck under the couch.
                               …drop a toy and watch it fall.      …squeeze onto my mom's lap, even           …turn a puzzle piece to make it fit     48
                               …touch or mouth the hair of           when my sibling is already there.          into its space.
                                 another person.                   …twist a shape until it fits into a        …choose a yogurt container instead
                               …transfer a rattle from one hand      hole in a container.                       of a strainer to carry water across
                                 to the other.                     …use a stick to reach a toy.                 the yard.
                                                                   …try several ways to reach a ball          …use a fork or spoon.
                                                                     that is stuck under the couch.           …use a play cup from the house-
                                                                                                                keeping corner to roll out my clay.
          Cognitive Development

Guideline: Discoveries of Infancy
The child will develop an understanding of his or her world through exploration and discovery while developing strategies to
solve problems.
                                    Birth - 8 months                        6 - 18 months                         16 - 36 months
• Memory:                      In the beginning of this period,      In the beginning of this period,        In the beginning of this period, I
  The child will remember      I respond automatically to my         I notice people and things and          hold in my mind an image of my
  people, objects and          environment. By the end of this       their features. My ability to           attachment figure, which I can
  events.                      period, I notice people and           remember depends greatly on             use to comfort myself. I also
                               things and their features. My         repeated experience. Later, I           recall more information over
                               ability to remember depends           understand that people and              a longer period of time. By
                               greatly on repeated experience.       objects continue to exist even          the end of this period, I can
                                                                     when I can't see them. By the end       communicate about some
                               For example, I may…                   of this period, I hold in my mind       of the events in my life.
                               …not look for a toy that has been     an image of my attachment figure,
                                 hidden.                             which I can use to comfort myself.      For example, I may…
                               …kick my feet in anticipation of      I also recall more information over     …say, "Mama," when my caregiver       49
                                 being fed when my mother            a longer period of time.                  rocks me to sleep at naptime, as
                                 positions me on her lap.                                                      a way of reminding myself that
                               …remember how to kick to make         For example, I may…                       Mama rocks me to sleep at
                                 my mobile move when it is           …show signs of wariness or distress       home.
                                 hanging over my crib.                 toward unfamiliar people or places.   …say, "Meow," when Daddy points
                               …look longer at a new picture         …search for a partially hidden toy.       to a picture and asks, "What does
                                 than at one I have seen before.     …look over the edge of the table for      a kitty cat say?"
                               …track an object that moves out         a cloth I have dropped.               …watch you take a cloth out of the
                                 of my line of sight.                …search for my blanket after I see        drawer, wipe down the table, and
                               …search for a partially hidden toy.     you hide it.                            put the cloth in the hamper, then
                                                                     …watch you wipe down the table            try it myself a week later.
                                                                       with a cloth one day, then try it     …imagine the whereabouts of
                                                                       myself the next day.                    an object or person that is out
                                                                     …say, "Mama," when my caregiver           of my sight.
                                                                       rocks me to sleep at naptime, as      …communicate about my aunt's
                                                                       a way of reminding myself that          visit last summer.
                                                                       Mama rocks me to sleep at home.
           Cognitive Development


Guideline: Discoveries of Infancy
The child will develop an understanding of his or her world through exploration and discovery while developing strategies to
solve problems.
                                    Birth - 8 months                       6 - 18 months                        16 - 36 months
• Space:                       In the beginning of this period,     In the beginning of this period,       In the beginning of this period,
  The child will understand    I respond automatically to my        I begin to learn the properties of     I use trial and error to discover
  how things move and fit      environment. By the end of           objects. By the end of this period,    how things fit and move in space.
  in space.                    this period, I begin to learn        I use trial and error to discover      By the end of this period, I
                               the properties of objects.           how things fit and move in space.      predict and imagine how things
                                                                                                           fit and move in space, without
                               For example, I may…                  For example, I may…                    having to try all possible solutions.
                               …watch people and objects move       …crawl to the edge of the bed,
                                 through space.                       then stop.                           For example, I may…
                               …look for what is making a sound.    …experiment with how objects fit       …get myself stuck in a tight space.
                               …bring an object to my mouth to        in space: stack, sort, dump, push,   …build a tall tower with a number
                                 explore it.                          pull, twist, turn.                     of blocks.                            50
                               …reach for and grasp an object.      …fit the round puzzle piece in the     …fit a shape into the matching
                               …drop a toy and watch it fall.         round space on the puzzle board.       space in a shape sorter toy.
                               …move my body through space          …get myself stuck in a tight space     …complete a puzzle with three
                                 by rolling, rocking or crawling.     when exploring.                        to four interlocking pieces.
                                                                                                           …stack rings on a base in the
                                                                                                             correct order.
                                                                                                           …build a simple town with toys
                                                                                                             such as cars and blocks.
           Cognitive Development


Guideline: Discoveries of Infancy
The child will develop an understanding of his or her world through exploration and discovery while developing strategies to
solve problems.

                                    Birth - 8 months                       6 - 18 months                       16 - 36 months
• Imitation:                   In the beginning of this period,     In the beginning of this period, I    In the beginning of this period, I
  The child will be able       I automatically imitate facial       match the simple actions and          can imitate something I saw at an
  to mirror, repeat and        expressions. By the end of this      expressions of others. By the         earlier time, even though it is no
  practice the actions         period, I match the simple actions   end of this period, I can imitate     longer happening right in front
  modeled by another.          and expressions of others, even      something I saw at an earlier time,   of me. By the end of this period, I
                               when a short time has passed.        even though it is no longer           can imitate a complex sequence
                                                                    happening right in front of me.       of events that I observed quite a
                               For example, I may…                                                        long time ago.
                               …stick out my tongue when you        For example, I may…
                                 stick out yours.                   …imitate an adult's sounds when       For example, I may…
                               …become quiet and stop moving          babbling.                           …take a toy phone and put it in my
                                 my body to watch an adult as       …take a drink from my cup today,        play purse, copying what I saw      51
                                 she interacts with me.               set it down, and say, "Aah" after     my caregiver do last week.
                               …play pat-a-cake.                      I saw you do it yesterday.          …pretend to make a cake, wrap
                               …imitate an adult's facial           …take a toy phone and put it in my      gifts and decorate the living
                                 expressions.                         play purse, copying what I saw        room, like I saw my grandma do
                               …imitate an adult's sounds             my caregiver do last week.            for my last birthday party.
                                 when babbling.
           Cognitive Development

Guideline: Attention and Persistence
The child will develop the ability to choose to participate and persist in a growing number of activities.

                                     Birth - 8 months                         6 - 18 months                         16 - 36 months
• Attention and persistence:    In the beginning of this period,      In the beginning of this period, I       In the beginning of this period,
  The child will be able to     I automatically respond to things     respond to different things in the       I need order, ritual, routine and
  remain focused on a task      in the environment. By the            environment in different ways,           notice when changes occur.
  or object and to persist      end of this period, I respond         and I'm able to spend more time          By the end of this period, I can
  in the face of obstacles.     to different things in the            focusing on things I find interesting.   pay attention to more than one
                                environment in different ways,        By the end of this period, I need        thing at a time. I monitor my
                                and I am able to spend more           order, ritual, routine and notice        progress in trying to achieve a
                                time focusing on things I find        when changes occur.                      goal and try to correct mistakes
                                interesting.                                                                   along the way.
                                                                      For example, I may…
                                For example, I may…                   …discover that I can kick a mobile       For example, I may…
                                …cry until I'm fed or changed or        and make it move, or shake a rat-      …expect my favorite songs to be
                                  made comfortable.                     tle and make a sound.                    sung the same way each time          52
                                …gaze at faces and objects.           …fill a bucket with sand or stack          and protest if my caregiver
                                …become quiet when feeding              blocks again and again.                  changes the words.
                                  begins, even before I am            …be easily distracted.                   …engage in solitary play for a
                                  offered food.                       …attend to a short picture book by         short time.
                                …show more interest in a new toy        looking at the pictures or listening   …have frequent tantrums out of
                                  than an old one.                      to the words.                            frustration when goals are
                                …look back and forth between          …expect my favorite songs to be            difficult to reach.
                                  people or objects, as if              sung the same way each time,           …listen to a story that a caregiver
                                  comparing them.                       and protest if my caregiver              is reading to a small group of
                                …turn away from interactions that       changes the words.                       children while playing with trucks
                                  I find to be too intense, then                                                 in a nearby corner of the room.
                                  turn back to continue interacting                                            …continue to look for a hidden toy,
                                  when I'm ready.                                                                without being distracted by the
                                …discover that I can kick a mobile                                               soft blanket that covers it.
                                  and make it move, or shake a                                                 …realize during clean-up time that
                                  rattle and make a sound.                                                       I have put a car in the block bin
                                                                                                                 and return to put it in the
                                                                                                                 proper place.
                                                                                                               …look for and find a favorite book,
                                                                                                                 and ask a caregiver to read it.

				
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