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Cognition and Development in Early Childhood Essay

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2019

The aim of this unit is to give an insight on the motor and cognitive development changes that human beings experience from early stages through childhood (from day 1 to eight years).

NSW Quality Teaching Model, which is an efficient model that bases on research, guides the creation of the teaching plan. The design of the curriculum follows the ‘Backward’ by McTighe & Wiggins (2004) along with all other practical aspects of Quality Teaching Model. The structure of the curriculum is for diploma students taking units in early childhood.

The selected unit ‘Child Development: Cognition and Development’ became structured from a new course at the university since the material of the unit is not in any other syllabus. This curriculum structure became organized as a bit of a task for the unit EDUC 6202 (Productive Curriculum), although, it will be the first time that early childhood teachers in my country will get an introduction to the unit.

The key goals of the unit are to enlighten the learner about different approaches that relate to the study of cognition and development, as well as, make them conversant with the thinking processes of children, from the time they get born to the adolescent stage, through play. Assessment of students will occur through a case study. This case study will go through a review as it will form a key part of the unit.

Learning Outcomes from Students

  • Study how young children explore materials, space, surroundings as well as their bodies’ potential through physical actions (motor growth).
  • Explain how active play, critical problem solving, adept movement and a positive reflection of self occur.
  • Describe the traits that distinguish them from others as well as traits that make them comparable to others.
  • Describe how interactions with different people promote wellbeing.
  • Explain various physical encounters of children from birth to eight years that get associated with their thought processes and sequential development of movements.
  • Show attainments of children self-esteem as well as their feelings about physical activity.
  • Carry out a case study on an entity child together with teachers, professionals and parents.

Enduring Understanding

Students will appreciate that:

  • Infants and young children discover materials, space and surroundings through physical activity and regular practice.
  • Physical experiences of young children from birth to 8 years depend on their thinking, sequential movement and contextual issues.
  • Children become more experienced in motor and gross skills attained in toddler and infant years.
  • These transformations occur due to neural and physical advances as well as the chance to practice novel skills, which is a critical environmental determinant of motor growth.
  • Children get cognitive skills as well as advances in physical abilities from practice.
  • Children show cognitive development through reactions and actions that are crucial in understanding thought processes that embody early childhood.
  • There exist severe restrictions to cognition in young children since their mental representations are inadequate with older people in how they perceive things, people and occurrences in their daily environment.

Critical Questions

  • What learning benefits do children get from play?
  • How can physical activity enable children to learn?
  • What form of the play takes part in each stage of development?
  • How can we relate physical play and learning?
  • How can instructors relate the child’s differential stage with teaching?
  • How can instructors help and give the developing child a suitable learning environment?
  • How can personal differences affect growth in various domains?
  • What forms typical physical development in early childhood?
  • What motor skills do children get at infancy and what triggers differences in these skills?
  • What are some unique strengths and features and aspects of preschoolers thought processes?
  • What traits are parallel in the same age group and which are somewhat distinct?
  • What factors could lead to the shown behavior whether it is negative or positive?
  • What forms successful early childhood learning and what impacts does it have on cognitive development of preschoolers’?

Knowledge: Students will learn several things after going through this unit, which include:

  • The way children explore the environment through play.
  • Development of motor skills with practice.
  • Experiences of children in thinking as well as consequential movements.
  • The fundamental aspects of skillful movement in children.

Skills: Some skills that learners will do in this course include:

  • Observing children.
  • Identifying personal accomplishments of children.
  • Establishing the cause for deliberate movements.
  • Collaborating with teachers, parents and care givers in finding problems that affect children.

Intellectual Quality (Newman & Wehlage, 1993)

Deep Knowledge

The content in the unit follows a logical sequence that will help learners understand the process of motor skills and cognitive development, in children, through play.

Deep Understanding

Students will understand all aspects that surround development of personal, emotional and social traits in children from different cultures.

Problematic Knowledge

Learners will realize that cognitive development of a child involves many aspects. For instance:

High Order Thinking

Students will be able to organize, analyze and assess the case study through high order thinking skills.


Also, learners will come across various metalanguage when discussing theories of cognitive development. They will also know how to give a suitable learning environment to children in early childhood.

Substantive Communication

Lastly, students will communicate both verbally and in written form as they make critical evaluations of cognitive actions.

Quality Learning Environment

Explicit Quality Criteria

An explicit criterion for work quality gets given to students, which acts as the reference. This criterion gets particularly designed for the child study.


This unit gets particularly designed to engage learners to watch and describe the developmental phases of a child from day 1 to 8 years of age, correctly.

High Expectations

The expectation is that each learner will give high quality work after doing observations and reporting on the case studies. Incase students encounter problems while completing they will get personal support.

Social Support

The design of the unit allows sharing skills and knowledge with parents, peers and children. This is beneficial as it allows sharing of information about support, help and feedback of the study.

Student Self-regulation and Direction

The course uses high degrees of independence and initiatives in the choice of tasks.


Background Information

The structure of all learning activities includes what the students already know as well as their individual encounters during as they relate to the developmental stages.

Cultural Knowledge

This course makes use of learners’ cultures through allowing them to form cultural groups when conducting observations on children as well as describing the findings. Students will watch children from their individual cultures and then rate them against other cultures. This will allow them to realize disparities in cognitive development, learning and play among children from different cultures.

Knowledge Integration

Since the case studies have a holistic approach to development of children, the unit has connections with various subject areas. For instance, there is a strong connection between early childhood and psychology. Cognitive development as well gets connected to many subject areas like sociology and English when describing language development.


This unit appreciates and values participation of all learners irrespective of their backgrounds.


The case study involves observing a child while working with parents, care givers and the entire school community. This allows theoretical lessons to get transmitted to real contexts.


Narrative appears in the material source, written papers and presentations that occur all through the unit.

The planning of this course of work follows a logical sequence to enhance the learner’s holistic understanding and knowledge of young children. The teaching plan is both theoretical and practical. Students will study different settings after every theoretical lesson and make observations and analysis. This will make students have further interest of proceeding with the course of development in early childhood.

The focus of this course is on development of children’s cognitive skills which include thinking, memory, knowledge, discrimination, understanding, reasoning, concentration and formal learning skills (Hine et al., 2010). Other related areas include physical growth and development features in children. These include height, appearance, weight, co-ordination, general physical activity as well as motor skills.

The main part is for learners to apply theory into practice through carrying out a case study, which is the main project. This will also help them to have increased skills and knowledge, which will enable them to link with the real world, through communication with the child, parents and others concerned (McTighe, 2004).

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Cognition and Development in Early Childhood." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cognition-and-development-in-early-childhood/.


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