Early Childhood Intervention: Module One – Typical and Atypical Development

Category — 1.6 Cognitive Development: How Development in Early Years Affects Development in Elementary Years

How Development in the Early Years Affects Development in Elementary Years

The development of basic cognitive skills in the early years1 will lay the foundation for the development of more complex cognitive skills during the child’s elementary and middle school years. It is critical to recognize signs of cognitive and pre-academic/academic delays as early as possible.

Some children may show slight difficulties while in preschool or kindergarten related to attention, listening and following directions. These difficulties need attention; otherwise they may turn into complex problems in the later elementary grades as children engage in reading, writing and number activities. A few examples of these difficulties include the following:

  • Preschool children who experience difficulty sitting for certain periods of time (for example: about 5-10 minutes) while engaged in a game or activity may find it harder to engage in and complete activities during their school years. For example:
    • While at school, a child may experience difficulties sitting in class, in the lunch room or in the auditorium during 30-45 minute periods of time.
    • Outside of school, a child may experience similar difficulties when watching a movie at home or at the theatre, while travelling in the bus or car, or become very impatient if walking down the street or while visiting a mall or a doctor’s office
  • Preschool children who cannot follow directions may find it very hard to fully participate, as students, in- and out- of- school activities; for example:
    • At school a child may have difficulties following a teacher’s instructions and completing the activities in the classroom, the gym, while on a class trip, or while engaging in group games while on the playground.
    • Outside of school a child may have difficulties listening to and understanding his/her swimming coach, and/or be left out during parties because he/she cannot follow the games.
  • Children who find it hard grouping objects into categories during their preschool years, will find it difficult learning to read and write, and doing number work during their school years; for example:
    • In school a child may experience difficulties telling the difference between vowels and consonants or between odd and even numbers.
    • Outside of school, a child may experience difficulties putting away his/her toys and/or clothes on shelves or drawers in ways he/she can easily find them.
    1 see References

February 23, 2011   No Comments