Citation Stephen C (2012) Learning in Early Childhood. In: Jarvis P & Watts M (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Learning. Routledge International Handbooks of Education. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 103-111. https://www.routledge.com/products/9780415571302
Abstract First paragraph: There is a widespread consensus that the first five or six years of life are particularly important for children’s learning. There is evidence of rapid growth and learning from a range of disciplines, charting changes in physical, social, emotional and cognitive capacities. From neuroscience we learn about changes in the brain that speed up the passage of signals and increase the number of synaptic connections. Psychologists have identified changes in children’s cognitive capacities in the early years of life e.g. becoming able to sort, classify, sequence and use symbols, the development of meta-cognition and theory of mind. From a sociological perspective learning in the early years is often seen as a process of enculturation as children learn the ways of their families and society. But they do not just learn how to ‘fit in’, they appropriate, reinvent and contribute to cultural reproduction (Corsaro, 1997).