A preschool-age child's most pressing question is often "why?" Children's minds are constantly working and processing, and as they grow older and more mature and learn more about the world, they're able to better process and understand the things that they do, hear and see. Preschool curricula are designed to stimulate a child's cognitive development and interest in learning at this exciting, busy age to help set the stage for success in high school, college and adulthood.
Cognitive Development Defined
Cognitive development is the process by which a child learns to reason, solve problems and to think consciously. Cognitive development allows preschool-age children ages 3 to 4 years old to develop their own questions about the world around them and how it works. Preschool-age children learn by playing, listening, watching, asking questions and doing things for themselves. These activities help a child's brain develop and understand more complex thoughts and processes as they grow.
Cognitive development milestones for preschool-age children include learning to write some letters and draw circles, identifying some colors and drawing more complex people. Other milestones include better understanding of abstract concepts, such as the difference between morning, noon and night. Children in preschool typically begin participating in more imaginative play with more complex plots.
Preschool helps promote cognitive development and prepare young children for the challenges ahead -- math, reading, critical thinking and problem-solving. In preschool, children begin the basics for learning numbers, letters, vocabulary, speech -- the skills necessary to learn to read in elementary school. Cognitive development in early childhood can indicate success in the later school years, as children who develop strong cognitive development skills in the younger years are often better readers in high school.
Play is Serious Business
Play is crucial for cognitive development. Preschool provides opportunities for structured and free play to stimulate cognitive development. Play promotes healthy brain development and helps children build confidence, begin to solve problems and work with others. These skills help children build leadership skills, group skills and become more creative -- important skills that a child needs to succeed throughout life.
- Education.com: Cognitive Development in Preschoolers
- American Academy of Pediatrics; Cognitive Development in Preschool Children; May 2011
- University of Illinois Extension; Ages & Stages -- Preschool Children
- Cincinnati Children's Hospital; Cognitive Development; June 2011
- The White House: The Importance of Early Childhood Cognitive Development
- American Academy of Pediatrics; The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds