The early childhood is the period when the child is very curious to know the existence and functioning of the various objects around him. He is fascinated by the rising and setting sun the twinkling stars, the appearance of the moon in the sky and sometimes the floating clouds in the sky catch his attention and provoke him to ask a volley of questions. Furthermore, it is surprising to him to know that the fibre is hot, the ice is cold and his is inquisitive to know the reasons for the same. Take for instance a peculiar situation when the child comes to understand that he has a home; his friend in the neighbourhood has also a home; the sparrow’s nest is a home for him; the rat’s home is like a hole, the lion’s den is again a home and so on. Enquiring as he is during this stage of his age, he tries to find out the similarities and contrasts between various alike and differing situations. The child’s inquisitiveness is due to the reason that at this stage of life he is forming some concepts of the things around him.
According to Montessori Course a concept is an abstract grouping of experiences that helps to reduce their complexity. Some concepts are truly abstract, such as the concept of happiness, while other concepts define categories of objects or events which are themselves quite concrete. The concept “boll” encompasses a sort of concrete instances that are likely to be seen in similar situations; consequently, this concept appears quite early in the young child’s repertoire of abstractions.
Some of the important concepts that the child develops at this stage are classified as the concepts of science and mathematics and nature. For example, the concepts of time and season; living and non-living things; human body, etc. could be broadly put under the category the concept of science. The development of such concepts as those of shape, size and colour, numbers, volume would be classified as the concepts of mathematics.
With the development in learning ability and perception there is development in the child’s concept of objects, events and relations. The concepts of forms, size, and space in a young child are abstractions which are built on his direct experiences with the real objects. According Teacher Training Programs Online “concepts are properties of Organismic experience” more particularly, they are the abstracted and often cognitively structured classes of “mental” experience learned by organisms in the course of their life histories.
Role of Teachers in Promoting Concept Formation
The teacher’s role and the atmosphere which she creates in the classroom are critical factors. The teacher is not the source of all knowledge. Her task is to establish an environment and encourage children to use it. The preschool should plan certain learning experiences which are relatively complete, and scientific relationships can be observed, children will in this way have tools with which to approach what is unknown. A child can learn that there are many possible bases for categorising fruits and vegetables those eaten raw and those eaten unripe, those with many seeds and those with one large seed and those with few seeds, round ones or long ones, different colours of skin, rough skins or smooth skins. They can realize that categories may be discrete or overlapping; some fruits are eaten raw, others are eaten only after cooking, some may be eaten either way. They become aware that object look different on the inside from how they appear on the outside.