A Child’s World of Cause and Effect (page 2)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on May 1, 2014

Social contexts are also filled with numerous cause and effect occurrences. As children interact with others, they quickly learn how to make someone smile by opening their mouth or clapping their hands. As children engage in feeding, oftentimes certain patterns of care are comforting and predictable. It is important for us to be aware of how we interact with and respond to little ones. These experiences and interactions will set the stage for symbolic learning and language.

As discussed, many toys for young children are designed to nurture their development for understanding these interesting cause-and-effect relationships. Playing with these toys gives them a feeling of control and allows them to predict and anticipate events. They can control making sounds and causing lights to flash. Soon they learn that they can control other aspects of their environment on their own. They can drop the cracker from their highchair or open and close a cabinet door. They learn that they are able to manipulate their world. They pull a blanket to bring a toy closer to them or they push aside a barrier to get a toy (Gordon & Williams Browne, 2004). Making giggly sounds sometimes brings the attention of others nearby. Similarly, crying is a way to get the attention of a parent or caregiver. Infants who experience such predictable events and routines by a responsive caregiver at this stage will be better able to understand logical patterns later (Poole, 1998). Mathematical and scientific thinking is closely related to a child’s ability to search and discover patterns.

As we become accustomed to watching children develop, our observations of these senses tend to become secondary. As parents educators, and caregivers, we become much more interested in the direct communication we have with the children in our care. We tend to not notice specific stimuli that cause children’s responses. We must remember, however, that each child’s environment is critical in nurturing mathematical and scientific reasoning and thinking processes. It remains, as it shall for their lifetime, that everything they learn and do is a product of using their five senses. Our task is to help these children develop and utilize these senses and observation skills in a nurturing environment that leads to sound mathematical and scientific thinking.

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