Right Start

Early Childhood Development: Understanding Cognitive Development

≪Strong≫Early Childhood Development: Understanding Cognitive Development≪/Strong≫

It is never too early to start thinking about your child’s early childhood development. 

At Right Start Inc we believe that the sooner you begin, the better. The reason being that, during the first few years, your child is laying the foundation for all future learning.

Developmental milestones are the essential abilities such as moving, seeing, hearing, communicating and interacting with other people. 

Babies start to develop these skills from birth, and they gradually learn and develop – at a rapid pace – during the first five years of life.   

These skills are the foundations of how children will engage with the world. 

If you are worried about your baby’s progress and development, it’s worth discussing it with one of the professionals at Right Start Inc. They will be able to answer your questions and provide you with a framework of what your next steps should look like.  

Four Stages of Cognitive Development in Early Childhood

Stage 1 : Birth to 18 Months

During the birth to 18 months stage, an infant’s brain develops rapidly. 

They begin to understand the world through movements and sensations. Actions such as sucking, grasping, looking, and listening help them learn new things. 

They also begin to establish a relationship between objects and the environment.

Stage 2 : 18 Months to 2 years

At this stage, language development is the most defining feature. 

Children will begin to identify things, how they function and follow simple instructions. 

Things like shapes and colors fascinate them and they enjoy and engage in  pretend play most of the time.

Stage 3 : 3 to 5 years

Children tend to ask a lot of questions during this age. 

They learn by imitation, observation and by exploring, creating and doing things. As memory starts developing, they start thinking about past and future events.

Stage 4: 6 to 8 years

The last stage of cognitive development in early childhood is characterized by the development of reading, writing, and comprehension skills. 

They begin to understand the viewpoints of others. There is improved concentration and short-term and long-term memory.

Experts at Right Start Inc encourage you to promote your child’s cognitive development through actively engaging in quality interactions such as:

⦁ Talking with your child and naming commonly used objects

⦁ Letting your child play with toys and move about freely

⦁ Singing and reading to your child

⦁ Exposing your toddler to books and puzzles

⦁ Answering your child’s “why” questions

Why Is Cognitive Development Important?

The various components that make up cognitive development are essential individually, but these also become the foundations for additional learning when put together. 

By practicing cognitive skills, your growing child loved one will be able to understand some of the workings of the world, cause and effect, information processing, reasoning, and eventually more advanced subjects like math, science and social development. 

The main areas that are considered key to your child’s development, are: 

  • Cognitive: Your child’s learning, their senses, and how they are engaging with the world around them
  • Physical: This includes large body movements, such as sitting and walking, and small body movements like controlling their hands, reflexes, vision and other physical requirements like sleeping and eating
  • Language: This includes hearing as well as making and understanding sounds in their environment
  • Social and Emotional: This encompasses how your child reacts and bonds with the people around them

Understanding the stages of early childhood development is important because it can help parents understand if their child is on the right track or not. However, it is also important to remember one key factor.

The stages are not hard-and-fast rules and each child develops at their own place.

Importance of cognitive development:

  • Promotes long-term learning: Learning, as we all know, is a lifelong process. Cognition encourages students to take a hands-on approach to learning which will help them make important decisions later in life by studying all the pros and cons.
  • Develops problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are essential later in life, both for career-building and for managing a family.
  • Improves comprehension: Cognitive learning helps students to comprehend things clearly and develop a deeper understanding of situations and circumstances.
  • Improves confidence: With deeper comprehension skills and more knowledge, children can approach life with greater enthusiasm and confidence, helping them become successful in all their endeavors.
  • Improves memory: A deeper understanding of a given subject makes the student retain the knowledge gained for a longer time, thus improving their memory.
  • Instills a love of learning: Concept-based education instills a lifelong love of learning, leading them to seek out more knowledge and develop new skills. These factors are further of utmost importance for a successful career. 
  • Emphasizes innovation: In cognitive learning, students reflect on problems, explore different ideas and come up with new solutions.

Children should be able to improve their ability to focus, to remember information and think more critically as they age. 

Cognitive skills allow children to understand the relationships between ideas, to grasp the process of cause and effect and to improve their analytical skills.