Preschool age, Social development situation and leading activity - Psychology

Preschool age

Social development situation and leading activity

In the preschool age the child enters, quite well orienting in the familiar environment, being able to handle a variety of public objects available to him. During this period, he begins to be interested in things that go beyond the actual situation. The circle of the child's communication and the range of his interests are expanding. The main feature is that the trshyletny child is already capable of behavior, relatively independent of the situation. After the crisis of three years there comes a period when the child can already talk "heart to heart". According to MI Lisina, after three years the child first emerges non-actual forms of communication: initially from three to five years, extra-situational-cognitive communication, and after five years - extra-personal-personal.

The relationship between the child and peers and adults changes significantly. Realizing himself, the preschooler seeks to understand and establish his relationships with other people. During this period one hundred interest in the structure of the family, including grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, etc., the idea of ​​time and related changes, including changes in the child itself. Preschoolers are interested in the causes of many natural and social phenomena, in general terms, the issues of the organization of the world. He actively explores the world of human relations and the meanings of social life. Having mastered speech in early childhood and realized myself as a subject ("I myself"), the child seeks to the adult world, wishing to occupy there an equal position with an adult. Not having such an opportunity in modern society, he is taking active part in modeling the activities and relationships of adults in the forms available to him, primarily by playing the role of an adult in the game.

According to DB Elkonin, the leading activity of preschool childhood is the story-role game , in which children simulate the activities and attitudes of adults. No less contribution to the mental development of the preschooler make other types of his activity during this period: graphic, constructive, listening to fairy tales, elementary forms of work and learning.


At one time psychologists called all activities of a child a game, because they are not aimed at achieving a concrete result and in this sense are "frivolous" activity.

The founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud believed that the game for the child is the same reflection of the experiences of traumas and unfulfilled desires, as a dream for a neurotic. The whole game is influenced by the child's desire to become an adult. Freud believed that, losing an unpleasant visit to the doctor, the child passes from the passivity of the experience to the activity of the game, transfers the unpleasant to the comrade but the game and avenges the one whom this comrade replaces. In accordance with this approach, Anna Freud emphasized the therapeutic value of the game, provided that the therapist will play an active educational role, directing the impulses of the child along a new channel and regulating his instinctive life.

The Dutch psychologist Frederick Bejtendijk (1887-1974), following the psychoanalytical tradition, claimed that the game arises in the child due to his unconscious drives to liberation, the removal of obstacles coming from the environment and to merging, community with others, and also due to the existing he has a tendency to repeat. Paying attention to the properties of the game object, Beuttendijk noted that this object should be partially familiar to the child and at the same time possess unknown possibilities. He stressed that both the animal and the person play not so much with objects as with images.

L. S. Vygotsky formulated a psychological criterion , which distinguishes the game from all other activities of the child. In his opinion, the main difference between the child's original game and the individual game actions committed in early childhood is precisely the creation of an imaginary situation . For an early child, the main thing in the activity is the manipulation of the object, the mastery of an action specific to the subject. With sufficient mastering of the action, it can be generalized, i.e. break away from the subject and be transferred to another object or situation. Naming an object is not its proper word, but in accordance with the function that it performs in this situation, is the most important prerequisite for the creation of an imaginary situation, i.е. emergence of role-playing game. According to LS Vygotsky,

• The game arises when there are unrealizable tendencies immediately, and the desire for immediate implementation is preserved;

the imaginary situation (discrepancy between the visible and the semantic field) is always present in the game and is its main characteristic;

• In every imaginary situation, there are rules for the child (ie, the imaginary game situation is not a fictitious situation of the autist);

• The child operates on values, but in an external field;

• The specific pleasure of the game is connected with the overcoming of immediate desires;

• The game contains all the development tendencies of the preschooler, it is the source of development and creates zones of proximal development, the game is replaced by changes in needs and changes in general consciousness.

D. B. Elkonin emphasizes in every possible way the social origin of the game , tracing the dependence of the game on the development of the productive forces of society.


In the early stages of the development of human society, children took direct part in the work of adults, without special training mastering the primitive tools of labor (there were no games, the childhood was very short). In the future, training was required on reduced tools, exercises on which can only very conditionally be called games, since the reduced bow could also shoot down prey, as well as from the present.

The subsequent development of tools makes exercises with reduced tools meaningless, and there are two changes in the process of forming a child as a member of society:

a) the general abilities necessary for the mastery of tools are singled out, and special toys are created for their development. Exercises with these toys move to an earlier age;

b) a symbolic toy appears, with the help of which children recreate those spheres of adult life, where they have access yet closed.

There are descriptions of children's games from peoples who preserved until the XIX-XX centuries. traditional, rather primitive way of life. NN Kharuzin in the book "United States Lapps" describes how the children depict the wedding ceremony in all details to the point that the "fiancé" and bride Put your cheek to sleep on your cheek. The American anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) noted the Aboriginal Polynesian games depicting the construction of houses and the creation of a family, while the wooden pupae proposed by the researcher were accepted only by boys who cackled and sang them, imitating their fathers. This observation is indicative of the fact that playing with dolls is an exercise of maternal instinct and, therefore, should be peculiar to girls.

According to DB Elkonin, "... among the described there are no games depicting the working life of adults, and games prevail that reproduce those aspects of life and relations between adults that are inaccessible to the direct participation of children or are for forbidden by them. "

Role-playing game has a kind of gaming technique: the replacement of one object with another and conditional actions with these objects. Most likely, the children borrowed this technique from the dramatic art of adults. An example of this was the ritual dramatized dances of adults, in which the conventional visual action was widely represented.

Prerequisites for the game DB El'konin considered the ability to generalize, formed in early childhood. First, the development of objective actions with social objects, i.e. the specific use of tools for their intended purpose, allows over time (with a high level of mastery of the action) "tear off" action from the subject and situation. For example, already a two-year-old, who has learned to put on shoes, tries to put them on the ball, on the head, the legs of the table. For all the curiosity of the example, it shows that the child already generalizes the action, transferring it to other situations, but leaving it connected with the subject (the boot). As far as mastering an action, it becomes free from a specific object, i.e. a child can replace an object with another, similar, capable of performing the same function. The action becomes no longer an object, not an instrument, but a subject, an agent. Thus, the child became already capable of substitution of objects, he realized that the object in action was the main, the main thing - the subject, the figure.

Secondly, in early childhood, in close interaction with subject actions, the child's speech develops. By the age of three, it is already becoming a coherent, phrasal and can perform a planning function, organizing the behavior of the child. The words of a child who perform only an indicative function become able to perform a nominative (denoting, naming) function and allow the child to rename objects. In early childhood, he does it with great difficulty, and after three years renaming is given to him easier, although there are difficulties, for example: "If you call a dog a cow, then it must grow horns, at least small."

Naturally, the child's mental development throughout the preschool childhood is associated with the development of the game itself as the leading activity of this period.


At the beginning of the fourth year of life in the game, children are most attracted to the opportunity to act with objects, and the role is only implied, giving meaning to manipulations and making the game attractive. For example, in an experimental room with dolls, buckets, a stack of toy plates and cubes, two girls of the younger group play as follows: one moves cubes from one bucket to another, and the second places cubes from a small bucket into plates, and then again collects cubes into a bucket, and plates - in a pile. At the same time, one says that she is a cook, and the other says she is a teacher. Removal from the room of dolls does not violate the game, "cooking dinner" continues. However, to start the game, i.e. to create a game situation, the presence of dolls was necessary. If there were only pails and cubes in the room, with which the girls actually manipulated, then the game did not start, the children dejectedly moved objects without imagining any role, and tried to get out of this situation as soon as possible, i.e. such a game - pure manipulation - they quickly got bored, was not attractive.

The flowering of the role-playing game, which occurs around the fifth or sixth year of his life, DB Elkonin considers a collective role-playing game with collapsed, only designated actions, detailed role-playing interaction, unfolded plot and contained in implicit form rules. Moreover, the rules do not exist for themselves, but are given a role. Between these two stages of the formation of the role-playing game DB Elkonin, four levels of the development of the game in the child were singled out.

• At the first level, the main and decisive action is the object. It is the subject that determines both the situation and the role. Interaction between the roles and even the division of functions between them are absent. The logic of actions is easily broken (for example, the offer to make an injection first, and then rubbing it with a cotton swab with alcohol does not cause any rebuff).

• At the second level, the main content of the game is the action with the objects, it is already indicated that functions are divided between the roles. Violation of the logic of actions is not accepted, but also not protested.

• The third level is characterized by the fact that there are already no items, and the role determines the actions. There is an interaction between the roles. Violation of the logic of actions is protested by the fact that so it does not happen & quot ;.

• The fourth, highest level of development of the game involves an expanded role interaction, when individual actions may not be performed, not drawn, but only spoken out. The main thing is the interaction of the characters. Violation of the logic of actions is protested by a reference to irrationality (for example, first to inject and then to rub the place of injection with alcohol can not, because then there can be an infection).

After this stage, when the object has practically left the game, only the action and interaction between the characters left, rules, hidden in each role, become more obvious. The first plan is the logic itself and the meaning of human actions, and, consequently, the rules that they obey. At this time, the disintegration of the role-playing game occurs, it gives way to a game with rules (for example, Cossack robbers, etc.). Here, the role exists only in a collapsed form, and in the first place are rules that the performer of the role must obey (who escapes and who overtakes).

D. B. Elkonin emphasizes the value of the role play for the mental development of the child. In his opinion, the game has an impact on the development of the child's motivational and demanding sphere in two ways:

1) looking at yourself in the game "through the role of", i.e. through the adult, the child is aware of his differences from the adult, and he has a new motive - become an adult, apparently including the desire to master the knowledge and skills inherent in adults, so that not only for fun portray adult activities;

2) "in the game there is a new psychological form of motives ..." there is a transition from motives having the form of subconscious affectively colored immediate desires to motives that take the form of generalized intentions on the verge of consciousness " .

According to DB Elkonin, the role command in the game is complex. In it, the network sample, acting, on the one hand, as an orientation behavior and, on the other hand, as a standard of control; in it is the performance of actions defined by the pattern; in it there is a comparison with the sample, i.e. control. Thus, in the performance of the role there is a kind of bifurcation, reflection. Of course, this is not yet conscious control. The whole game is at the mercy of an attractive thought and colored by an affective attitude, but it already contains all the basic components of arbitrary behavior.

In the game, overcoming cognitive egocentrism. A collective role-playing game requires the child to take into account the role position of the partner. A syringe stick for the doctor This is because it acts as a syringe for it, and for the patient - only because it takes into account the partner's position. Thus, the game acts as a real practice, not only a change of position in assuming the role, but also as the practice of the "i" relationship to the partner in the game in terms of the role that the partner performs; not only as a real practice of actions with objects in accordance with the values ​​assigned to them, but also how the practice of coordinating points of view on the meaning of these objects without direct manipulation of them, believes Elkonin.

It is the necessity of taking into account the position of the other and leads to cognitive decentration.

So, in a role-playing game happens:

• development of arbitrariness of behavior;

• the formation of motifs, new both in form (internal, figurative), and in content (to master the skills and abilities of adults);

• cognitive egocentrism is overcome;

• a higher level of mental actions of the child is formed.

However, even recognizing the leading activity of the considered age period, the game is not the only occupation of the preschooler. Other types of activities, and the child at this age, perhaps more than in any other, also has a very significant influence on his mental development, in addition to developing specific for each activity abilities. All types of activity of a preschool child, except for self-care, are modeling nature, ie. recreate the object in another material, due to which in it are highlighted previously hidden individual qualities, which become the subject of special consideration, orientation.

For example, visual activity undergoes significant changes in the preschool period. Three-year-olds are happy to lead a pencil on paper, watching what happens. Compared with early childhood, when the pencil was walking on paper, and the eyes - on the ceiling, this is already progress.


Italian psychologist K. Ricci singled out in the development of children's drawings two stages, each of which is divided into several stages.

1. The pre-figurative stage includes two stages: a) the stage of scribbles; b) the stage of the subsequent interpretation.

2. Fine stage consists of three stages: a) the stage of primitive expressiveness (three to five years); b) the stage of the scheme; c) the stage of the form and the line (seven to eight years).

The first stage usually ends in early childhood, but it also happens otherwise. VS Mukhina describes a child who, up to five years (until he went to kindergarten) remained at the stage of interpretation of scribbles, and notes that this case is not exceptional. But for the time being, unknown reasons for these children are not built beforehand "in the head" an image of what they want to draw.

The enthusiasm with which the child spoils the paper with scrawl, is caused by the first achieved coordination between visual and motor development. Any remarks that cut off the hunt for drawing at this stage may cause a delay in mental development. However, at this age the child still does not depict anything on paper. Only after finishing the "draw", he looks at the "work", trying to guess what he got, and giving names to his drawings. In themselves, the drawings remained the same scrawl as before, but there was an important change in the thinking of the child: he began to link his notes on paper with the surrounding world. This is how the transition starts from thinking in movements to "imaginative thinking".

Selflessly drawing, the younger preschooler accompanies his actions, speech movements, calls the depicted, not really caring at the quality of the image. According to the researchers, such drawings are rather "mimetic", and not "graphical." For example, the image of a jumping girl in the form of a zigzag can be understood only at the time of drawing, and two days later the child himself calls the same zigzag fence.

At the second stage of the pictorial stage, the drawing becomes schematic (six to seven years), the child depicts the object with those qualities that belong to it.

The realism of children's drawings grows to the end of preschool age, however such an increase in similarity with the object is estimated in different ways. Some consider this progress, and others, on the contrary, decline. For example, the American scientist G. Gardner calling the "golden age of children's drawing" stage of the scheme, and the later stage of the line and form - the "period of literalism", because he saw in him primarily a decline in the expressiveness and courage of children's works (LF Obukhov).

Reducing the expressiveness of a child's drawing, bringing it closer to an objective photographic image, seems to be the expression of a general transition from egocentrism to a more objective point of view.

This feature of the child's pictorial activity as drawing by observation K. Buhler considered the result of outstanding individual abilities. Domestic scientists NP Sakulin and EA Fleurin showed that such a result

can be achieved by teaching children i; a kindergarten, but not a drawing technique, but a systematic observation of objects.

Speaking about the significance of children's drawings for the child's mental development, some authors tend to believe the quality of children's drawing is a direct reflection of the level of intellectual development (F. Goodinath). Others believe that the level of the picture reflects primarily the emotional sphere of the individual (AF Lazursky, AM Schubert).

The process of drawing in a child is different from that of an adult. A child of five or six years usually takes little care of the final result. The process of creative self-expression is more important not only for the child, but also for his further mental development. But the opinion of American psychologists, the child can find himself in the drawing, and at the same time the emotional block that hinders his development will be removed (V. Lovenfield, V. Lombert Britten). Similarly, in adults, art therapy is used.

The movement of the verbal designation depicted in the figure from the end to the beginning of the drawing process, noted by K. Buhler, seems to indicate the formation of an inner ideal action plan. A. Zaporozhets noted that the internal plan of activity in preschool age is still completely internal, he needs material supports and the figure is one of such supports.

According to Vygotsky, the children's drawing is a kind of graphical speech. Children's drawings are symbols of objects, since they have a similarity to what they designate, unlike a sign that does not have similar similarities. Drawing allows the word to become a sign. LS Vygotsky considers children's drawing as a preparatory stage of written speech.

D. B. El'konin explores the child's figurative activity along with other types of his productive activities. He emphasizes that the products of visual activity are not just symbols that designate an object, they are models of reality. And in the model from the real subject separate features are abstracted, and categorical perception begins an independent life. Categorical perception arises in material productive activity: the child by the strength of the material separates from the object of his property. Only by breaking the properties of the object does it become possible to work with these properties on the basis of standards, measures. As shown by the research of AV Zaporozhets and LA Venger, it is at the preschool age that sensory standards and measures are assimilated.

Sensory standards are a system of speech sounds, a color spectrum system, a system of geometric shapes, a scale of musical sounds, etc.

The artistic development of the child is not limited to his visual activity. Enormous influence on him has perception of fairy tales . K. Bühler even called preschool age the age of fairy tales.

A fairy tale is a child's favorite literary genre. Listening to the fairy-tale is transformed in the child into a special activity of participation, empathy. Due to the child's insufficient knowledge of speech, this activity must first have external supports. As noted by TA Repin, in young children understanding is achieved only when they can rely on the image, so the first books of the child must necessarily be with pictures and illustrations should exactly match the text.

In this regard, I would like to note remarkable illustrations for fairy tales and children's books written by Soviet artist Vladimir Mikhailovich Konashevich (1888-1963). For example, illustrations to the collection of fairy tales by KI Chukovsky. Child psychologist and psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim (1903-1990) even wrote a book "The Benefits and Meaning of a Fairy Tale", where he summarized his experience of using fairy tales for children's psychotherapy.

According to BD Elkonin, listening to fairy tales is no less important for a preschooler than a story-role game. Empathy to the hero of the tale is similar to the role that the child takes on in the game. In the fairy-tale, however, the ideal subjective action is represented, and the subject's action is given in , correlates only with the notions of good and evil, without intermediate (for example, professional or family) roles and operations with objects.

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