Lev Vygotsky: The Relationship Between Imagination And Cognitive Development

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Imaginative and creative play are often undervalued but the positive impact they have on the cognitive development of children has been well documented.
The relationship between imagination and creativity in play has been studied in depth, probably most notably by Lev Vygotsky. In 1990, he theorised that the imagination serves as the crucial aspect of all human creative activity and that imagination is a function that is essential to life. He denotes that this creative behaviour “makes the human being a creature-oriented toward the future, creating the future and thus altering his own present”(Vygotsky, 1990).
Imagination and creativity in play have been linked in many studies over time, for example in 1999 Russ et al. set out to investigate
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Furthermore, Piaget sees children as naturally inquisitive and that they learn new skills independently through their environment (McLeod, 2009). He defined three sequential stages of play: functional play - where the child focuses on repetitive physical activity during the first 18 months; symbolic play - where fantasy and role play are used which aid literacy development, up to age 7; and finally, games with rules - where children learn the expected way to behave and develop social skills. Piaget defines play as assimilation and accommodation, whereby the child can act out their thoughts, practising concepts already learnt and modifying existing schemas but not necessarily conclude with the child learning anything new (Piaget, …show more content…
He also believes that children attempt to make sense of the world around them through play, using a process he terms as ‘inner speech’ Vygotsky says the child is always conversing with them self, peers or an adult. Subsequently, this aids in the development of language, which in turn assists with cognitive development (Vygotski, Rieber and Carton, 1987). He denotes that the information taken in from the world around the child is internalised and understood through this ‘inner speech’ (Childdevelopmentmedia.com, 2015). Vygotsky’s approach also differs to that of Piaget, in that he believes that children learn firstly, through the social interaction that happens during play. Whether the child is imitating a parent or during role play with a peer, social interaction is pivotal to the development of language and regulation of internal thought processes (McLeod,

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