Preschool age - Child psychology

Preschool age

The child passes into preschool age. The peculiarity of the social situation of development in the preschool age is that the child already understands that he is other adults. He treats them in a certain way, and they refer to him. As an adult advocates for the child as the bearer of social relations, the child begins to imitate the adult. Since a child can not reproduce social relations precisely because of limited opportunities, preschool children develop a game. LS Vygotsky repeatedly emphasizes that a small child can not imitate non-living objects, he imitates only adults.

The main characteristic of the game is determined by the presence of an imaginary situation. Imaginary situation assumes that the child transfers the value of some objects to others. For example, a child may consider a doll a daughter, a chair by a horse, etc. However, when playing, the child does not lose the real meanings of things. Here, in fact, the complex nature of the mental processes accompanying the play activity of preschoolers is noted.

The game and the development of speech in many respects determine the development of the child's imagination. Analyzing this process, Vygotsky singles out two different types of activity of children. One is associated with the creation of new images by combining the old in new combinations, and the other characterizes the process of relating images of one reality to another. He points to four basic forms linking the "activity of the imagination with reality". The first form is based on combining the images of impressions obtained from real objects; the second - on the establishment of a connection between the finished product of fantasy and the complex phenomenon of reality; the third - on the emotional connection; the fourth - on the new content of the image of fantasy, which previously did not occur in reality, but is embodied in the product.

Of particular interest is the third form of connection between imagination and reality, which Vygotsky defines as "emotional." He stresses that "every feeling, every emotion tends to incarnate into known images corresponding to this feeling." 2 In his opinion, emotion has a special ability to choose for itself the appropriate impressions. We see that Vygotsky, without directly naming, points to a special process of mediation between two different realities, one of which represents cognitive processes, the other is affective. It is important to note not only the general idea of ​​the unity of affect and intellect, but also the idea of ​​the existence of a special relationship between the cognitive and affective spheres of man, revealed by Vygotsky. The essence of this relationship can be called a symbolic mediation. Symbolic mediation, in a sense, establishes a relationship between two series of reality - an emotional series based on a common emotional sign, and a cognitive series that is easily intelligible.

If in the early childhood the child's perception is allocated and passes through the main development path, then in the preschool age, memory develops. The memory of a preschool child is immediate. This means that the preschooler does not use various techniques and tools for memorization. It is memory that is the center around which other functions are grouped. For example, perceiving for the preschooler means learning, and thinking - remembering. Imagination is also impossible without the ideas held in the child's memory. Thinking at this age is of a complex nature: different subjects are united in word like the way people are united by one name. In other words, the sign that the objects constitute a common group differs from the logical generalization. Objects enter into any aggregate on the basis of the child's ideas about how they met in his life, i.e. on the basis of visual connections, reflected in images of memory. As a result, by the school age the child has relatively developed attention and memory due to the fact that attention is a function of structuring the perceived and represented by memory.

A special way of development is the child's speech. If at the beginning of the age it relies entirely on primitive complex structures, then by the end of the preschool age the character of children's generalizations significantly changes. The preschooler has pseudo-concepts. They in their external composition correspond to the concepts of adults, but the objects included in them are combined according to a complex feature. Thus, the preschooler's speech comes close to the adult's speech in the sense that both the adult and the child have in mind similar contents. Of course, the structural consciousness of a preschool child differs from that of an adult. Memory serves as a system-forming function in the child, and in the adult - thinking in the system of scientific concepts. In this respect, the development of memory is, according to LS Vygotsky, the main neoform of preschool age.

Preschool childhood ends in a crisis of seven years. Outwardly, the crisis manifests itself in the behavior of the child, when he freaks, grimaces, plays the role of jester, in his behavior there is something absurd, artificial, deliberate. Vygotsky explains the emergence of the crisis as a loss of immediacy. This means that if earlier any desire of the child immediately turned into an external action, now there was a separation of the external and internal sides of the person: "Between the experience and the immediate action, the intellectual moment" is inserted. As the outer and inner sides of the personality began to differ by the child, he became able to call his states, and therefore, to generalize them. His experiences acquired meaning: the child has an orientation in his feelings. The presence of semantic experiences (when, for example, a child realizes that he is angry) complicates the child's experience system, he begins to generalize these experiences, which leads to the emergence of the logic of feelings. He develops such qualities as self-esteem and self-esteem, but these personality traits are not lost in further development. Disappear, according to Vygotsky, conflicting, contradictory experiences, the struggle of experiences, which are replaced by new qualities of school age. We would add that perhaps Vygotsky was referring to the child's attempts to determine the first relationship to his appearance and his inner world, which, like autonomous speech at an early age, was replaced by more stable structures of school age.


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