The Development Of Cognitive Organization In Young Children: An Exploratory Study

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Early Child Development And Care


Four questions guided the formulation of this study of the development of cognitive organization in young children. First, what organizational process-patterns do young children display when faced with an organizational task employing non-representational materials? Second, what developmental changes can be observed in the processes children employ as they engage in tasks? Third, what kinds of products are generated as a consequence of these process? Fourth, what are implications of the study of cognitive organization for developing educational programs for young children? Eight preschool children were tested at 3 and again at 4-years-of age with the Designs Tasks, a non-representational set of items varying in the degree to which they could be fit together. Children's performance on the tasks were video-taped and coded using the subject-process-product paradigm. Findings suggest that irrespective of age and task type, children engage in tasks with high levels of affect and focus. However, the processes employed and the products generated indicated that both processes and products varied from Time 1(3-years-of age) to Time 2(4-years-of age). Findings are discussed in terms of the practicality of studying the development of cognitive organizational strategies of young children for both theories of child learning and the practice of teaching.

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