Psychology class studies preschool thought process

Junior Shijing Gong works with preschool student. (Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)

By KAREN JARRARD, Gazebo Staff Writer

For most high school students, the preschool was just a place for games and fun activities. But when looking further into it, it is obvious of the amount of things you learn at a young age.

Mrs. Jaqui Wilson assigned her psychology class to observe the ways these children act.

At the beginning of the assignment, the high school students are given a written set of questions they must answer for themselves. One of the questions is whether the students are playing together or just playing in solitude next to each other.

When photographs are taken, it is clear they are playing the same thing which could give off the idea that they are playing together. But they could just both be playing the same thing in the same general area.

As the class observes the kindergarten, they are trying to see if at an older age the young students interact more together. Going back to preschool the class will conduct a series of experiments.

They will test Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory that states that as the children get older their learning habits change. One way to test this is they will put two rows of five pennies in front of the pre-k students and ask which row has more.

After the youngest of the school counts the lines they will see they have the same. Once they know this, they will spread the second row out a bit more than the first. After letting the students watch this the class will ask the children the question again. They will say the row that is longer has more, even though they already said they were equal. When testing this in the kindergartners classroom the kids will simply say they are still equal.

The same concept will be tested with silly putty. A student from Mrs. Wilson’s class will take a ball of the putty and split it into two, all while the students are watching. They will compare the putty to cookies and say which side has more cookies.

The students will say with confidence the sides have the same amount. The upperclassmen will then rip one of the sides into two balls. The same question is asked again, “Which side has more?” The students without hesitation will probably say the side with two even though they know the sides were originally equal.

The same principle is present that if you move this experiment to the grade above the students will agree that the sides are equal no matter how many times you break the pieces up. Just a grade difference, a year or two, can change the learning process completely.

There is a lot more to learning shapes and colors than the eyes first catch. These children are learning and maturing a lot as these short years go by. In their  years at Stratford Academy, their minds will work hard and keep growing.

Sophomores Natalie Cundiff and Greg Sutton observe a preschool classroom. (Photo by KENZIE MUENZER, Gazebo Staff)