PAPELES DEL PSICÓLOGO Vol. 39-2 Mayo - Agosto 2018

on making utterances about a situation (i.e., rendering a situation into a speech plane, “signifying” it), reproducing a text just heard and retelling it. Classes were built according to the following principle: it was assumed that the more complex a situation was in which a child found himself - the more complex the sign construction reflecting it should be, and hence its speech commentary. However, the assignments of this type did not fully simulate the process of utterance construction for the lack of a significant feature - a communicative component of utterance construction. In reality, the need for a child to tell a story about a situation that arises right in the process of communication requires the child not only to describe it, but also to construct an address message that takes into account a partner’s position, in other words, he should display an intellectual initiative (Sokhin, 1989). That is why, speech development classes, in addition to tasks associated with language acquisition as a meta-means, put a great emphasis on the context of communication with adults or peers. The programs now provided for situations of dialogical communication in all types of activity, including story-role play. From now on, preschool children were taught how to tell apart different areas of communication and to build appropriate utterances based on a system of relevant linguistic means. One of the renowned Russian experimental programs called The Golden Key (Kravtsov, Kravtsova, 2011) made the emphasis even more pronounced. Now the main goal was to organize an event space in the group with speech development tasks being subordinate to this goal. For example, all of a sudden a teacher “has lost” the power of speech. Another suggests “going” to Africa where there is some juice that will help the first teacher to regain her voice. During their journey, the children meet local people. In order for the locals to understand what the children are asking them for, the children are to correctly pronounce a sentence. The transfer of emphasis from speech development to the context of communication skills development seems quite appropriate as it is communication that serves as the initial function of speech while the cognitive function, one of signification and generalization, grows out of it because of the need for communication. The programs, including speech in the context of communicative skills development, offer more possibilities to tackle the problem of transmitting one’s own meanings and constructing a targeted utterance. A promising trend was shown in the classes that incorporated children’s productive activities. For example, writing stories in Key to Learning (Veraksa, Dolya, 2018), which is widely used in Poland, Scotland, Wales, Malaysia and other countries. They simulate situations that in fact constitute divergent assignment requiring children to find possible solutions to problems precisely by using various linguistic means (by telling stories, etc.). Of special importance is the fact that children are confronted with the need to solve a fundamentally new task - not only a communicative or cognitive, but also an artistic and aesthetic one: the care-giver specifically requests to express themselves in a more accurate, figurative, original or comical way. The inclusion of such tasks appears to be highly productive: when composing own texts, a child gets a chance to show himself as an individual, to display own activity and initiative. Planning “speech” classes was associated with children’s awareness of linguistic phenomena. This work was aimed at forming speech voluntariness. Theoretically, it was based on the study by Felix Sokhin (Sokhin, 1979) who showed that children’s speech developed not so much through imitation, but as a result of the formation of linguistic generalizations. He worked out special tasks enabling preschoolers to understand such linguistic phenomena as polysemantic words, synonyms, antonyms, etc. Similar activities were conducted in the form of story-role play or a didactic game. Conformity with linguistic norms (e.g. choice of synonyms or similes, correct understanding of phraseological units, etc.) is a recipe for success in play. At the same time, the lessons emphasize the importance of spontaneous word-building experiments in children and recommend teachers to support them. The analysis of speech education programs intended for preschool children allows us to say that at their speech development tasks preschoolers’ use of language provides them with an opportunity to develop their abilities, first and foremost, their communication skills, involving the usage of connotational meanings. At the same time, one should differentiate between tasks of constructing a targeted utterance, on the one hand, and the awareness of linguistic phenomena, on the other. Preschool age is unique for developing a proper speech ability which can be understood as an ability to use language as a meta-means for planning and utilizing the child’s intellectual initiative in a verbal sphere. MEDIATION IN THE COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT OF PRESCHOOL CHILDREN Important line of preschool children’s acquisition of the tools is cognitive development. Russian preschool educational programs can be subdivided into three groups. Each of them solves this problem in its own way. The first group includes programs which main objective is to expand a child’s knowledge and experience, to develop emotional, personal and social spheres. Children form ideas about basic concepts of reading, writing and arithmetic (for example, about the concepts of “number”, “quantity”, “sound”, “letter”, etc.) in a spontaneous and uneven manner. Thus, it can be said that though the programs of this group envisage a line of mediation development they, however, do not outline the ways to implementing it in a structured way (Babaeva, Gogoveridze, Solnzeva, 2014). The second group singles out cognitive development as one of its main objectives. It is understood that a child assimilates or “photographs” ways and means demonstrated by an adult in the course of play, communication, productive activities, DEVELOPMENT OF MENTAL TOOLS 152 A r t i c l e s