My Child’s Cognitive Development
In this inquiry project, I will be designing curriculum that seeks to teach my son Englishalphabet letters, numbers to 10 and body parts in 4 weeks. I am very interested in what a child aged 2 should be able to do. I have a 2 year old son who was born in the USA but unfortunately does not know English despite being at such an age. This has greatly been weighing on me and so I decided to start teaching him letters, numbers, body parts and giving him examples about what each letter stands for, for example A is for “apple”. I am very concerned that he should be able to at least have mastered a few body parts, letters and numbers at that age like his peers. I believe that if unchecked, this may turn out to be very counterproductive in helping him grow up and develop at a moderate level.
This will be done through constantlyplaying alphabet games and number songs with him since children at his age like simple and memorable songs. I believe that songs make it easy for them to identify numbers and letters especially if they have colorful scenes. I am also going to take advantage of everyday opportunities such as having breakfast and using mealtimes to further cultivate my position as a model to emulate and teach him in the process. This will be done through playing simple eating games such as “One sandwich for mommy, one for daddy and another for you, that is one two three”. This will help build his counting skills by helping him master simple numbers by associating them with simple day to day experiences.For the body parts, I am going to point to various parts such as his eyes and other parts. To make the experience more authentic, I will record a video that shows how he was before teaching him and how he is after the four weeks of teaching. The video will help monitor his progress as he learnsEnglish letters, numbers and various body parts.
My 2 year old son was born in the USA butunfortunately, he does not know any English words except “Hi”. This is somewhat shameful since he is American yet is not able to understand the most basic forms of communication in English. This is the reason why I decided to start teaching decided to start teaching him letters, numbers, body parts and giving him various examples that demonstrated what each letter stands for. I want him to be at the same level with other boys that are his age and not feel left out.In order to fully achieve this, I will need to apply some concepts and theories in cognition that are directed towards early childhood development.When it comes to cognition, there are various aspects of it that we can relate and identify with that affect early development in small children. The most important of these theories that small children can identify with is imagery and perception(http://www.education.com/magazine/article/body-talk-preschool/).There are numerous ongoing studies that are aimed at establishing a concrete link between mental imagery and perception in small children aged 1 to 6 years. Mental imagery entails visualizing of images or events in one’s brain (Anselmo & Franz, 1995). Perception entails visualizing images and events based on external stimulus such as witnessed events or occurrences. Studies actually reveal that some cortical areas of the child’s brain are involved in both imagery and perception (Anselmo & Franz, 1995). What is evident is the fact that both imagery and perception play a significant role in memory and motivation and ultimately in early childhood development. Different people perceive things differently and that is probably why their actions differ.
The importance of perception is hence paramount in understanding any basic components such as letters, numbers and simple body parts. One must form a clear mental image of what is required of him or her and fully comprehend the components in an associative way (Brooks & Berlin, 2003). This principle applies to small children in that two children of the same age are very likely to have different levels of understanding and would relate differently to society despite being the same age (McCartney & Phillips, 2011). This was the main motivation for my inquiry project.
Thisinquiry projectis going to make a difference in my young son in whom I am going to apply these principles. Aged 2 years old, I decided to teach him because he is an American, and I am planning to live here for a couple of years. I am currently studying for my Ph.D. and hence estimate that we will be staying her for at least four years. This implies that my son is going to study his first grade and kindergarten here.It is because of this that I do not want him facing language barriers or trouble communicating with his friends because he does not know English. I am considering taking him to an international school once we return to our home country Saudi Arabia.
Ultimately the inquiry project will also make a significant difference in my life too.One key aspect of growth in the development of different behaviors in people is the ability to learn and adapt to what they see in others. This theory holds true even in small children (Goswami, 2007). Role models are widely believed to influence people, both young and old, in the manifestation of behavior. Various conditions need to be fulfilled in order to thrive in learning from a role model that include paying attention, retaining what is observed and having the motivation and skill to learn from the model (Bjorklund , 2012). Using the same approach, but on a smaller and less complex scale I intend to act as the role model for my small son to imitate. Through imitation, he has the ability to reconstruct some of the things that he sees me do and in the process subconsciously add these actions to his cognitive ability (Benson & Haith, 2009). This means that I will adjust my schedule and time slightly in order to dedicate some time to tech him letters, numbers and body parts. It will be very encouraging to me once he graspsthese teachings within the four weeks. I will be more confident in his communication skills if the inquiry project is successful so in a way the project will also make a difference in my life too.
According to the preschool or kindergarten content standards that are outlined in New York State (common core state standards), counting to 10, recognizing some of the alphabet letters and body parts are basic standards that children of my son’s age should learn(Brooks & Berlin, 2003). These standard stipulate that in order to teach these components of children study to pre-K children and grades K-3, one should create a detailed schedule of the daily routines and activities for a preschool or kindergarten teaching session. One should ensure that language and literacy experiences are provided throughout the day. In order to build the learning experience to enable him master some letters, numbers and body parts, I will teach him using some visual strategies. I will act as a presenter and employ gestures and language with many pictures. Books with pictures and diagrams are also very critical in helping enhance his visual learning (Bjorklund, 2012). I will aim to use techniques that help him reconstruct the letters, numbers and body parts that he has learnt. I estimate that by the third week he should be able to redraw images and letters from memory, try different spatial arrangements, and replace numbers with initials and symbols. This will signify that it is time to reduce his study sessions into smaller periods(Brooks & Berlin, 2003).These sessions will be constructed through various instructional strategies and I will designthe instructions and the methods of assessment that will enable him complete the learning process within the stipulated four weeks. A good instructional strategy that I will be using this period is teaching him numbers and body parts kinesthetically.Statistics show that children who learn better through kinesthetic means should try to experience the things that they are learning in order for them to remember it best(Brooks & Berlin, 2003).
Some questions that will guide me in the process are based on Bloom’s wheel and I have concluded that the four key questions I will use are: Will my son be able to easily recognize numbers, letters and body parts? Secondly, will my son be able to comprehend what the meaning of the letters, numbers and body parts he learns? Thirdly will my son be able to apply and use the letters and numbers that he has learnt? And lastly will he be able to analyze and evaluate the letter he has learnt and numbers to form words that he can use constructively?
I will then use the evidence and match my results against the four question derived so that I can be able to determine whether or not I have had an effect in my goal of teaching him some letters of the alphabet, numbers and body parts. I will break down the procedure of teaching him these three elements by first teaching him numbers. I will do this throughplaying number songs since children at his age like songs. These songs will help him memorize numbers in a catchy and interactive way (http://www.babycenter.com/404_how-and-when-should-i-teach-my-child-her-numbers_6899.bc). I will also utilize day to day experience such as helping him learn how to count during breakfast by helping him count pancakes such as, “One pancake for mommy, one for daddy, one for you and so one, two, three”. The second level of teaching will be teaching him the alphabet. I will do this using a26 two-sided, interactive flash cards. I will also play the Sesame Street series which gives a creative way of identifying letters accompanied by songs (http://www.babycenter.com/404_whats-the-best-way-to-teach-my-child-the-alphabet_6897.bc). Lastly, I will teach him about body parts by printing out pictures of various parts and pointing to mine as I teach him to identify each of them.
In order that I may assess the success, I will record a video that shows my son’s ability before and after the four weeks of teaching by using different games, songs, flashcards and educational videos. That video will be conclusive in proving that he does not have the ability to count to 10, recognize his body parts and some of the alphabet letters before teaching him. Then, after four weeks, I will record another video to show his ability to do the things stated and note his progress.
The results of my project inquiry are indeed very encouraging. The video clearly shows that my child now after only 4 weeks of teaching has the ability to recognize some of the alphabet letters, count to 10 even though he is missing some numbers, and recognize his body parts.The video clearly captures his progress from week one to week four. Each week is marked by a significant progress in one of the three sections that I am teaching him. For him, learning the alphabet letters has not been as hard as learning all the numbers. The results show that he has This is very encouraging because I believe that with continued training, he will be able to fully master all the numbers and with time use what he has learnt constructively. His progress in only four weeks has been very spectacular and I am now very confident that our 4 year stay in America will help him build his linguistic and literacy levels.
The next time that I have the opportunity to conduct the inquiry project I hope to reduce the turnaround time for teaching him to less than four weeks. I have established that indeed he has a lot of potential and with refined instructional strategies I can help him learn in less time. This will have a greater impact and difference in himbecause I will have more time to help him learn other components that will help build his linguistic knowledge. The inquiry project has therefore been very significant in making a difference in my son’s cognitive development.
Anselmo, S., & Franz, W. (1995). Early childhood development: Prenatal through age eight. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Merrill.
Benson, J. B., & Haith, M. M. (2009). Language, memory, and cognition in infancy and early childhood. Amsterdam: Academic.
Bjorklund, D. F. (2012). Children’s thinking: Cognitive development and individual differences. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Body Talk: Pre-school(2008). Retrieved from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/body-talk-preschool/Brooks-Gunn, J., Fuligni, A. S., & Berlin, L. J. (2003). Early child development in the 21st century: Profiles of current research initiatives. New York: Teachers College Press.
Goswami, U. C. (2007). Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitive development. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pub.
How and When Should I teach My Child Numbers? (2009). Retrieved from http://www.babycenter.com/404_how-and-when-should-i-teach-my-child-her-numbers_6899.bcMcCartney, K., & Phillips, D. (2011). Blackwell Handbook of Early Childhood Development. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
What is the best Way to teach My Child the Alphabet? (2009). Retrieved from http://www.babycenter.com/404_whats-the-best-way-to-teach-my-child-the-alphabet_6897.bc