This chapter discusses the development of cognitive and executive function skills across the ages of three to eight, focusing on themes including pretend or symbolic play, the theory of mind an understanding the motivations and beliefs of others as separate from your own, and numeracy skills. Pretend play is the beginning of representational thought and can be used to practice conflict resolution, negotiation, and expression of goals and points of view. The “theory of mind” is the understanding that others have thoughts and beliefs that are coming from a different perspective than yours, which helps us to manage complex social interactions through the recognitions that others may have “false beliefs.” Executive function skills relate to how children learn to follow directions and pay attention, and this part of the brain function is built over time, not innate at birth. Executive function can build another area of cognitive development, which is quantitative reasoning or numeracy, as well as shapes understanding. Intent participation is when children learn through participation in community and household activities, other than activities that are only intended for their own learning, like preschool education.
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