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Trawick-Smith argues that children change in many ways as they grow older, and this change occurs in both quantitative and qualitative ways (Trawick-Smith, 2010, p.4). He also disputes that children in their primary school years are able to remember larger quantity of information for longer periods as compared to their pre-school years. Thus, the main aim of this paper is to ascertain this fact, as well as discuss the reasons for this.
Psychology defines memory as the ability to “store, retain and recall information and experience” (Trawick-Smith, 2010). Memory forms can be classified as either long or short term memory. Long-term memory can also be divided into declarative memory, requiring conscious recall; or procedural memory, based on implicit learning.
For these reasons, Trawick-Smith asserts that during the pre-school years, the intellect of the children develops rapidly in the next way: they are now able to think about people or objects that are not present, solve problems, imagine things, think about the future and also recollect past events. However, they are still cognitively limited and can focus only on one thing at a time. Research has shown that difference in cognitive abilities at this stage can be influenced by cultural diversity. This situation changes during the primary years.
Accordingly, at this time such processes as concentration and reversibility emerge that allow primary children to acquire knowledge in mathematics and science, for example.. In the primary years, some children develop at a more advanced level than others; this can be explained by their different culture, family background and personal experience.
He concludes that the memory of a child improves during the primary years, especially due to meta-cognition. This is the “awareness of an ability to regulate one’s own thinking processes”. They are able to control what they are thinking about, what stimuli to respond to, and what information and skills to retain. Some of the meta-cognitive skills, which can be used to enhance memory, are focused on gaining and keeping attention of the children, including the use of signals/cues, use of contrasts, establishment of a purpose for learning, creation of an emotion and organization of the learning process (Trawick-Smith, 2010).