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Cognitive Development

Cognitive development refers to how individuals learn, what they learn, and how and when in the life span these new understandings are reached. Scholars in philosophy, education, and psychology have together laid the foundation for understanding cognitive advances such as how children acquire language, learn to function in the social world, and come to understand complex phenomena like climate change. This entry discusses how cognitive development has been studied, the various theoretical constructs of cognitive development, and cognitive development in different types of out-of-school activities.

Systematic attempts to formally study cognitive development originated in the early 19th century, with interventions and close observation of children. Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852), widely recognized as the father of kindergarten, envisioned kindergarten as a place to deliberately change how children develop ...

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