Pop quiz: What’s the earliest age that children think abstractly?
- 2 years
- 4 years
- 7 years
- 9 years
“It is the normal state of developmental affairs that a child’s initial understanding of a concept looks fragile, fragmented, and uncertain. The child shows understanding on one task but is stumped by a conceptually similar task with (seemingly) trivial differences in format. He seems to understand one day, but not the next (e.g., Flynn & Siegler, 2007).
In fact, I’d suggest that complete mastery of concept across materials, types of query, and times is a good indication that the concept was introduced at a developmentally inappropriate time. We waited too long–the child probably already knew the concept.”