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Early Childhood Information Processing & Education

Explain the way children in early childhood process information and how this should affect their education.

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1. Explain the way children in early childhood process information and how this should affect their education

The Information Processing model developed in the 1960's and 1970's. It conceptualizes children's mental processes through the metaphor of a computer processing, encoding, storing, and decoding data.

For example, between the ages of 5 and 7, children learn how to focus and use their cognitive abilities for specific purposes. For example, children can learn to pay attention to and memorize lists of words or facts. This skill is obviously crucial for children starting school who need to learn new information, retain it and produce it for tests and other academic activities. Children this age have also developed a larger overall capacity to process information. This expanding information processing capacity allows young children to make connections between old and new information. For example, children can use their knowledge of the alphabet and letter sounds (phonics) to start sounding out and reading words. During this age, children's knowledge base also continues to grow and become better organized (excerpted from http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=12760&cn=462)

Metacognition, "the ability to think about thinking", is another important cognitive skill that develops during early childhood. By ages 5 to 7 years, children realize they can actively control their brains, and influence their ability to process and to accomplish mental tasks. As a result, school-age children start to develop and choose specific strategies for approaching a given learning task, monitor their comprehension of information, and evaluate their progress toward completing a learning task. For example, first graders learn to use a number line (or counting on their fingers) when they realize that they forgot the answer to an addition or subtraction problem. Similarly, children who are learning to read can start to identify words (i.e., "sight words") that cannot be sounded out using phonics (e.g., connecting sounds with letters), and must be memorized (excerpted from http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=12760&cn=462).

Jean Piaget describes four stages of children's thinking. During each stage, children's thinking evolves as they construct an understanding of people, objects, and real life experiences. Between the ages of 6-8 most children move from pre-operational to concrete-operational thinking.

o Pre-Operational Thinking: Children rely principally on sensory experience for ...

Solution Summary

Explains the way children in early childhood process information and how this should affect their education. Ten specific points are explained in terms of education. Links for further research are also provided.

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