Planning in the preschool years: The emergence of plans from general event knowledge

Judith A. Hudson, Robyn Fivush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


A framework for conceptualizing the relationship between event knowledge and planning is proposed, and two experiments are reported that examined children's ability to draw on event knowledge in planning. Preschool children were asked to plan and execute shopping trips to a pretend grocery store. Half of the children planned for two events on successive trials (Level 1, single-goal planning) and half of the children planned for two events simultaneously (Level 2, multiple-event planning). The amount of external support for planning was also manipulated. In Experiment 1, 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds were presented with either a clustered or interleaved display. In Experiment 2, 3- and 4-year-olds were given adult assistance in plan construction. Results indicated that children's planning becomes more complex and flexible with age. Older children also rely less on external supports for planning. However, when external support was provided, 3- and 4-year-olds displayed higher-level planning abilities. Results are discussed in terms of the roles of event knowledge and external support in the early development of planning skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-415
Number of pages23
JournalCognitive Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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