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Terms and Concepts

atelier: in the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, an art studio or workshop in a school

atelierista: in the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, an art specialist or teacher trained in art education

bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, the intelligence of physical movement and awareness of the body

cochlear development: auditory development related to language development

cognitive development: the development of the ability and skills to learn, understand, solve problems, reason, and remember

constructivism: the theory that people interpret objects and events in terms of what they already know-that they "make their own meaning" from various experiences

convergent thinking: thinking that leads to one correct answer to a problem

creativity: the development or creation of new thoughts, solutions, or products

critical periods: periods in which the brain is most open to the benefits of specific types of experiences, such as learning a language or development of vision (also called windows of opportunity)

developmental delay: when a child does not reach developmental milestones at the expected times; an ongoing or major delay in one or more areas such as motor skills, language, or cognitive development

developmental milestones: functional skills or tasks that most children can do at a certain age range

developmentally appropriate practice: educational practice based on an understanding of typical development for children

divergent thinking: thinking that leads to a variety of answers to a problem

emergent literacy: activities in infancy and early childhood that precede and lead to the development of reading and writing

fine motor skills: the use of small muscles, such as those in the fingers and hands, to do such activities as eating, drawing, dressing, playing, and writing

gross motor skills: the use of large muscles, such as those in the legs, arms, and trunk, to do such activities as sitting, standing, walking, running, keeping one's balance, and changing positions

holistic: referring to the child as a whole and all the ways in which children develop-physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially

interpersonal intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, intelligence relating to working with, understanding, and communicating with other people

intrapersonal intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, intelligence relating to self-reflection and understanding of one's own goals and emotions

language development: development of the skills to speak, use body language and gestures, communicate to others, and understand what others say

learning centers: areas in a classroom designed for specific types of small-group or individual learning and exploration

learning disability: a physical or psychological condition that affects a person's ability to be taught effectively

locomotor movements: movements in which the body goes from one space to another, such as walking, marching, and leaping

logical-mathematical intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, intelligence relating to the ability to recognize patterns, reason, and think logically

multiple intelligences theory: the idea, developed by Harvard researcher Howard Gardner, that humans have potential in a variety of areas and learn in different ways

musical intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, intelligence relating to musical ability and understanding

naturalistic intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, intelligence relating to the natural world and the ability to distinguish among different types of plants and animals

neurons: nerve cells in the brain that store and send information. Connections between neurons develop in the first few years of life, causing the circuitry of the brain to become more complex.

nonlocomotor movements: movement made while standing in one place, such as bending, stretching, or swaying

open-ended: allowing for many different variations or responses

play: spontaneous and enjoyable activity self-initiated by young children

process: the creative activity itself-exploring and using materials and techniques

product: the end result of a process; what is created out of an activity

project approach: a teaching approach that allows children to study a topic of interest in-depth and over a period of time

prosody: the intonation or overall melody of spoken language. Newborns are sensitive to prosody and use variations in it to help tell voices apart.

Reggio Emilia: an approach to early childhood education, developed in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia after World War II, that focuses on children's symbolic languages, such as the arts; involves students in in-depth exploration of topics (Reggio is also known as the project approach); and views children, teachers, and parents as partners in learning

sensorimotor stage of development: the stage of human development between birth and about age 2, in which intellectual development depends on sensory experiences (seeing, hearing, tasting) and motor activities (grasping, touching, and manipulating objects)

social development: development of the ability and skills to interact with others; have relationships with family, friends, and teachers; cooperate; and respond to the feelings of others

synapses: connections between neurons (brain cells) through which nerve impulses travel. In early life, synapses survive and grow stronger based on stimulation-one reason that early childhood experiences and interaction are so important.

verbal-linguistic intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, intelligence relating to using words and language

vestibular development: auditory development related to body coordination/balance

visual-spatial intelligence: in Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory, intelligence relating to the ability to visualize objects and convey them visually