Seriation skills in three-year-old children : a training study using Montessori materials



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The present study investigated a series of interrelated questions pertaining to the advent, development, and enhancement of successive and additive seriation skills in 3-year-old children. It was proposed that by presenting the 3-year-old with increased perceptual cues by the use of size-graded materials of increasing dimensional variability, one might not only find but perhaps enhance as well successive and additive seriation skills in this age child. The question of enhancing seriation skills led to the development of a seriation instructional sequence in which the added question was asked as to whether presentation of the instructional materials would prove more effective by use of modeling together with verbal cues and corrective feedback, or simply by modeling alone. Piagetian research has shown that by 7-8 years, the average child can grade by size a series of objects varying only in length, as well as insert additional objects into the completed array. Some studies have reported this additive form of seriation in children as young as 5 years. Other studies have noted pre-serial behavior such as absolute and relative comparison as young as 3 years. The present study sought to probe this younger age for successive and additive seriation skills, using Piagetian criteria and Montessori materials. [...]