Cognitive Development: Piaget's Theory

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Core Theory: Piaget’s Theory

Piaget’s theory explores how children developed over time. Our intelligence improves and gets better as we use and are involved in the environment around us. We learn through the actions that we do and the outcome of them. Our understanding increases and therefore our ability increases. It is as if we need to adapt to our environment and when we have accomplished that, we get better and more intelligent.

Piaget started early investigations into children and discovered how some of them gave incorrect answers. These answers were all similar and this could have been because of the experiences they have had and their developmental level. He conducted experiments and found that children were trying to make sense of the world in a way that they understand. This is why Jean Piaget referred to children as being LITTLE SCIENTISTS. A scientist would what to find out something by looking at and understanding it. Children would do this on a larger scale to find out at life and their surroundings. 

Piaget observed his children at home after his work in Paris during the 1920’s. He invented tests to gage where children are at and these are shown in the core study as CONSERVATION OF NUMBER. He found that children had gathered information in their usual setting and that this was how they were developing. He used clinical interviews and natural observations. He put together a stage theory of cognitive development.

He developed the idea that children wanted to learn and want to develop their ideas. They are not just passive observers but are actively involved in their discoveries. They are learning by doing.

Piaget split development into 4 clear stages. It includes the ages that they are in that stage and also the development that takes place. These are the Sensori-motor stage, Pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage. These have certain actions and ideas that suggest its development.

 The Sensori-Motor Stage:

This stage takes place between the ages of birth to around 2 years. This is only a slight guide as all children will naturally develop at different stages. This is the beginning stage of a child’s development and usually includes the simple actions. The majority of their time is spent looking around and examining their new surroundings. The child uses its senses and body movements to learn and understand. They have mastered the first actions such as sucking and touching which are reflex actions. This places SCHEMAS on their mind, through their actions and they are able to connect one thing with another. It recognises that it physically exists.

The child learns how to MOTOR COORDINATE their body so that they are able to perform actions with multiple body parts such as eating and crawling. This uses more than one part of the body and this develops as the child becomes more aware and intelligent. Another feature of the sensori-motor stage is learning OBJECT PERMANENCE. When this is not learnt, the child


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