Why Preschool is a Crucial Time to Boost Memory Skills


Autobiographical Memory refers to a memory storage system for personal information, allowing us to remember experiences that happened to ourselves. This includes information about the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the personal events. Researchers at the University of Castilla analyzed the progress of autobiographical memory from a longitudinal perspective in a sample of children ages 5-12 to uncover just what is the role of language in the development of autobiographical memory. Their results are published in Memory & Cognition.

The researchers found that preschool age is a crucial time for developing autobiographical memory and language relations, but once children acquire basic language skills, language differences no longer have critical influence. Thus in early adolescence no significant correlations were found between language scores and the specificity of autobiographical memory.

The researchers also found that participants' language skills remained more or less stable over time suggesting that those children with a better language ability in preschool will maintain this language proficiency at later ages, impacting both the detail and specificity of autobiographical recollection.

StepUp Note

This research helps us understand how children develop the ability to talk about experiences that they themselves have experienced.  Our children’s ability to remember and talk about our positive and negative experiences may have a positive effect on their overall mental health. The daily StepUp to Learn puzzles give children time to think about reflective questions such as “what could it be?” and “why or why not?” Practice with this kind of language may also positively impact a child’s ability to use more complex language to share their autobiographical memories.

Note by Nancy W. Rowe, M.S., CCC/A 



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