ERIC Number: ED241156
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
Selecting Appropriate Literature for the Preschool Child: Life without Fairy Tales. Research Paper.
Mitchell, Steve H.
Piaget noted that young children cannot think in a logical fashion, objectively, or about hypothetical situations. These limitations of preoperational thinking render the young child dependent upon or bound by perceptions. Overreliance upon perceptions results in children's inability to distinguish fantasy from reality. Young children's unrealistic perceptions give rise to irrational fears of abandonment; attacks by wild animals hiding in closets or under beds; being alone in the dark; and/or witches, ghosts, and dragons. These characteristics of young children's thinking have significance for educators and parents selecting appropriate literature for children under the age of 7. The first challenge for selection is to provide literary experiences that will instill pleasure of reading and help allay irrational fears. The second challenge is to provide related activities (e.g., creative dramatics, role playing, puppetry, and creative writing experiences) to establish a sense of continuity between what is read to the child and what is actually experienced. Selecting appropriate literacy experiences and providing related activities can promote optimal development if children's cognitive capabilities and emotional needs are taken into consideration. Unfortunately, educators often misinterpret, misapply, or ignore Piaget's theory when selecting literature for young children. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Parents; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Piagetian Theory; Preoperational Thought