Child Development Theories

Improved Essays
Theories and Theorists From first steps, first words and more all children go through similar stages of development. Many theorists have studied these developmental milestones, and put them into broad stages of development, which many children go through during certain time frames. Jean Piaget, one of the most well known child development theorist, formed the Cognitive Development Theory which has helped educators to understand a child’s cognitive abilities from birth to early adolescence. Jean Piaget disagreed with behavioral theorists who believed that a child’s learning depended on reinforcers. He believed that a child’s learning is active, which was the foundation of his Cognitive Development Theory. In Berk’s book Infants and Children …show more content…
One of the main characteristics of this stage is the absence of object permanence. In his online article about the sensorimotor stage, Saul McLeod defines object permanence as “…knowing that an object still exists, even if it is hidden” (McLeod, 2015c). The development of object permanence signals that the child is beginning to move to the pre-operational stage. From ages two until seven, children enter the pre-operational stage where they begin to learn the symbols of language (McLeod, 2015a). A child is able to think symbolically, and this can be shown through their play patterns, but they are still very egocentric which means, “…the child’s inability to see a situation from another person’s point of view” (McLeod, 2015b). The next stage, concrete operational, is a very important stage as it marks the beginning of logical thinking. The child begins to understand the concept of conservation, which is “…the understanding that something stays the same in quantity even though its appearance changes” (McLeod, 2010a). The concept of conservation is examples in the film Piaget’s Developmental Theory: an Overview when David Elkind asks a child …show more content…
As Piaget strongly believed in the power of active learning through interaction with ones environment, many classrooms have incorporated that idea through discovery learning. The explanation of this idea is simple, “…the idea that children learn best though doing and actively exploring” (McLeod, 2015a). Teachers who have a classroom guided by discover learning is child centric, and the role of an educator is to be a facilitator rather than a director of learning. These classrooms also have work that is focused on the process of learning, not the product. Process vs. product work can be as simple as an finger painting art project, which lets children learn about colors and painting with their senses and without the stress of achieving a perfect end product. When applying Piaget’s theory to education, teacher’s must be aware of the importance of ‘readiness’. Saul McLeod defines readiness as, “when certain information or concepts should be taught” (McLeod, 2015a). For example, it would be appropriate for teachers to discuss concepts such as freedom with middle school students because they are in the formal operational stage and are able to understand abstract

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