Santrock Edpsych Ch02

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Physical and Cognitive
Examining the shape of children’s development allows us to understand it better. Every childhood is distinct, and is the first chapter in a new biography. This chapter is about children’s physical and cognitive development. These are some of the questions we will explore:
• Do children develop in distinct stages, or is their development smoother and more continuous?
• How do children develop physically, and how does this affect their behaviour and learning?
• What is the best way to characterize students’ cognitive development? How might knowledge of students’ cognitive development influence the way you teach?
• How does language develop? What is
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Greek Philosopher, 4th Century B.C.

Twentieth-century philosopher George Santayana once reflected, “Children are on a different plane. They belong to a generation and way of feeling properly their own.” Let’s explore what that plane is like.

Why Studying Children’s Development Is Important
Why study children’s development? As a teacher, you will be responsible for a new wave of children each year in your classroom. The more you learn about children’s development, the more you can understand at what level it is appropriate to teach them.
Childhood has become such a distinct phase of the human life span that it is hard to imagine that it was not always thought of in that way. However, in medieval times, laws generally did not distinguish between child and adult offences and children were often treated like miniature adults.
Today we view children quite differently than was the case in medieval times. We conceive of childhood as a highly eventful and unique time of life that lays an important foundation for the adult years and is highly differentiated from them. We identify distinct periods within childhood in which children master special skills and confront new life tasks. We value childhood as a special time of growth and change, and we invest great resources in caring for and educating our children. We protect them from the excesses of adult work through

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