The theme of this work is the cognitive development of children. Developmental psychology studies the age-related changes, that is, the mechanisms of mental development and causes of these changes. According to cognitive theories, development is a process of evolution of mental structures that are genetically programmed, and depending on the maturity of the individual. The most developed and influential is considered the theory of genetic epistemology by Piaget.
Cognitive features are considered in the context of cognitive mental processes. The cognitive mental processes are the processes associated with perception and information processing, with the development of sensations and perceptions. Particular attention is paid to the development of language and thought development. Language development is closely related to thinking, which, like any cognitive mental process has its own specific characteristics. All these processes can not develop without the participation of attention and memory. (Painter, 1990)
In this paper, we take a closer look at the language development of children in the conception of early childhood cognitive development. What is language? How do children learn to talk? These are the main issues discussed in the paper. We will consider the theoretical part, that is, the basic tenets of the theory and the stages of language development in young children, and how it related to the development of other cognitive processes in children. Next, we will review the article.
At the end of the paper we will point the main importance of knowledge of the language development of children in the conception of early childhood cognitive development, especially for an early childhood educators.
How language affects children’s cognitive development in early childhood?
It is known that the physical growth of children is accompanied by changes in his intellect, psyche and emotional sphere. Among the views of modern psychology about these changes the most important and influential are ideas of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980), widely recognized as the most influential thinker of the 20th century. Partly as a result of observing his own children, Piaget was interested in the relationship between naturally maturing capacities of the child and his interactions with the environment. Piaget saw the child as an active participant in this process, rather than a passive “recipient”¯ of biological evolution and outside stimuli. Piaget described the main stages of child development and mental processes, described the main processes in these periods, related to the development of thinking, learning, memory, emotional sphere, etc. (Piaget, 1962)
One of the important components of child development is the development of language. Language and speech are the most important substantive and structural components of the psyche, and many research psychologists and physiologists have shown that language is associated with all processes of the human psyche. (Painter, 1990)
Language (and speech) is the process of communication through words. Mastering the basics of child speech, symbolic means of communication becomes the starting point for the formation of higher mental functions (thinking, imagination, etc.) that are built based on the use by child of psychiatric units mediated – characters contained in the word. The main issue addressed by scholars in v=cognitive explanation of language (Piaget, 1962; Werner and Kaplan, 1963; Vygotsky, 1986) concern relationship between language and cognition. (Bochner, 2003)
Cognitive theorists believed that the child had an active role in the development of cognitive structures. In early childhood the language development goes in two directions: improves understanding of adult speech and own active child’s speech is forming. The development of an active child’s speech in the first year goes very slowly. During this period, he learns about 100 words and uses them very rarely. After a half years the child becomes proactive, he begins not only to constantly ask about the names of objects, but makes attempts to pronounce these words. At first he does not have voice capabilities, he mostly mumbles. But soon the child more and more asks the question “What is that?”¯, begins fast development of speech: by the end of the second year a child uses up to 300, by the end of the third year – from 500 to 1500 words. At first child’s speech differs from that of adult’s, it is called autonomous speech: the child uses words that adults do not normally use. Autonomous child’s speech consists of distorted words, made by him from normal words, as he does not have full phonemic hearing and sound articulation, the child unconsciously alters sound form of words. In communication with adults the autonomous speech disappears rather fast. Usually, talking to the kid, adults require a clear pronunciation of words, which affects the development of phonemic hearing and articulation. (Bochner, 2003)