a Developmental Profile of a Preschool Child specifically aged Four to Five years and the appropriate Toys. The cognitive and physical abilities of a child aged between four and five (preschoolers) will be discussed and five recommended toys have been chosen to develop their necessary skills. I have chosen this age group as I believe that information in this period is crucial as children are entering primary school in the following year. It has been stressed that “learning begins long before they attend school,” through family, peers and toys (Vygotsky, p. 32, 1978). This is why one must understand past research carried out child development and the toys which support this progression.
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The Cognitive Profile of a Preschool child specifically Four to Five year old
At this stage, the child is less egocentric where they can perceive a situation from another’s viewpoint (Bee & Boyd, 2006). The child also gains understanding of “theories of mind,” tested by the false belief experiment, which is seeing the world from another’s point of view and developing causality (Bergen, 2002). Children are able interpret experiences which make an impact on their beliefs. They also play pretend by devising symbols, for example, a child uses clothes brushes to make a train (Astington, Harris & Olson, 1989).
At this age, the child is unable to complete formal thinking, for example they cannot follow strict rules to participate in board games. Children are still challenged by conservation which refers to understanding mental imagery and their rotation (Piaget & Bärbel, 1971). Since a child usually grasps the concept of conservation by the age of five, using Vygotsky’s theory stresses that toys could enhance this thought, specifically level of proximal development, Proximal development stresses the capability that a child can attain through supervision of friends and family (Vygotsky, 1971)..
Language development is critical where children typically “learn ten new words a day” (Boyd & Bee, p.191, 2008). It is necessary that children can develop categories where new information can be filed; this is known as fast mapping (Boyd and Bee, 2008).
Piaget states that children encompass centration where the child can only “think of one variable at time”, for example all living and non living animals are distinguished by movement (Boyd & Bee, p.185, 2008). Furthermore gender awareness is established; mixing with similar gender and the associated toys. However it has been found that girls are more likely to cross the gender boundary as they are influenced to engage in pretend play rather than agentic play (Etaugh & Bridges, 2005).
Recommended Toys for Four- Five Year Olds.
Extensive research has recognised that play is a fundamental part of children’s growth in terms of “intellectual, motor and personal and social development” (Website). Many activities are learned through play, for example, discovery, concentration, creativity, developing motor and social skills. The main types for a preschooler are social play, constructive play, energetic and pretend play (Goldstein, 2009).
First Toy; Fisher- Price Medical Kit
The doctor-patient roles will assist a child in making sense of their own reality. The doctor’s apparatus and awareness of their own body parts leads to language acquisition. Also the toys are colourful and will assist a child’s fine motor skills.
Second toy; Play-doh Fun with Food – Meal Makin’ Kitchen
This toy assists imaginary play where the child can pretend to cook a mealtime and is symbolic of real life. This is a sociable toy so that the child will interact with others, which can lead to social and language skills. Also the child can learn their colours and develop categories in terms of shapes. The concept of conservation can be understood and push their level of proximal development. Play-doh would also develop motor skills in terms of rolling the play doh, holding different cooking utensils etc.
Third Toy; Music-to-Go Digital Music Player Book – Dora the Explorer
This toy increases children rhyming and develops phonological awareness, which assists reading and writing in primary school. The child can learn and sing along to the twenty popular songs. The book is colourful and a child can engage by pushing buttons and listening to the songs. It also provides a good model for girls as Dora stresses girls to engage in agentic play and supports discovery.
Fourth Toy; Huffy Toy Story 16 inch bike
The outdoor bike can develop arm and leg muscles, assist co-ordination and visual spatial awareness. This bike is a good buy as the stabilizers can be taken off and be used up to eight years. This toy also is boy orientated which stresses gender preference at this age, however there is a girl style of this bike.
Fifth Toy; Fisher-Price Smart Fit Park
This game electronic indoor game; supports both cognitive and physical advancement for example, activities invoke running, skipping, hopping and jumping on the mat with your foot and hands in order to progress in the game. The child will develop skills in numeracy, letters, identify shapes and is relatively gender neutral. This toy can be used in advanced years as spelling, addition and subtraction are considered. The child’s attention span is improved due to continuous incentives (Babycenter, 2008).
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The first toy invokes role play which assists sociable talk. It can reduce egocentricism as the children must play according to a role so they listen and respond in the particular situation. It has been found that participating in imaginary plays can assist collaboration of speech, for instance the improvement form collective monologues to sociable talk (Piaget & Bärbel, 1971). Assimilation allows new information into specific schemas for example attending the doctors. The main purpose of this toy is to reduce egocentricism and make the child more socialised.
The play-doh urges the child to grasp conservation and imaginary play. Play doh assists the theory of conservation where the same quantity of play-doh can be long or short but it still consists of the same amount.
The third toy helps language development as phonological awareness is pivotal at this stage, rhyming improves the child’s ability to break down words. In time, at the optimal age, they can learn to read and write at a faster pace (Boyd & Bee, 2006).
The fourth toy is mainly related to one’s physical development however it leads to a child improving their balance and aware of their visual spatial awareness. The child has more control over the bike and can push a lot faster (Oswalt, 2008).
The fifth toy collaborate both cognitive and physical development where the child learns shapes, colour, and develop new mental schemas as a result. This toy enhances once knowledge of centration as the child must focus on a number of variables, for example winning the race, pushing the right button on the mat (Boyd & Bee, 2006).