Birthplace: Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Location of death: Geneva, Switzerland
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Cimetière des Plainpalais, Geneva, Switzerland Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Jean Piaget was a Swiss biologist, philosopher, and psychologist best known for his work in the area of developmental psychology. Piaget's focus was on the intellectual or cognitive development of children and on the way in which their mind's processed and progressed in knowledge. Piaget's central thesis was that children (1) develop self-centric theories about their environment, and about objects or persons in that environment, and they grow; and (2) that children base these theories on their own personal experiences interacting with persons and objects in their environment; (3) that the child used "schemas" to master and gain information about the environment; and (4) that the sophistication of a child's cognitive structures increased as the child grew and developed, as did the child's "schemas". Schemas, which are the child's tool bag of actions and responses to make things happen, start with rudimentary interactions such as grabbing and mouthing objects and eventually progress to highly sophisticated skills such as scientific observation. Piaget divided the child's path of development into four stages which began with birth and culminated in the teen years. These stages are: Sensorimotor stage (0-2 yrs), Preoperational stage (2-7 yrs), Concrete operations (7-11 yrs), and Formal operations (from 11-15 and up). A chief tenet of Piaget's theory is that these stages do not vary in order, cannot be skipped, and should not be rushed.In addition, computer scientist Alan Kay utilized Piaget's theories in developing the Dynabook programming system, an innovation that led to both laptop and tablet style computers. As a young man he attended the University of Neuchâtel where he received a degree in zoology in 1918. He then studied psychology in Zürich. Although Piaget did not focus on how to apply his theories within education, we do know that he advocated creative learning situations, or what is now referred to as "hands on, interactive." And one could infer, based on the example of his own self-education efforts that he also favored making information readily available to young, enquiring minds, allowing them to 1. Sensorimotor stage (birth - 2 years old) -- Child interacts with environment through physical actions (sucking, pushing, grabbing, shaking, etc.) These interactions build the child's cognitive structures about the world and how it functions or responds. Object permanence is discovered (things still exist while out of view). 2. Preoperational stage (ages 2-7) -- Child is not yet able to form abstract conceptions, must have hands-on experiences and visual representations in order to form basic conclusions. Typically, experiences must occur repeatedly before the child grasps the cause and effect connection. 3. Concrete operations (ages 7-11) -- Child is developing considerable knowledge base from physical experiences. Child begins to draw on this knowledge base to make more sophisticated explanations and predictions. Child begins to do some abstract problem solving such as mental math and still understands best when educational material refers to real life situations. 4. Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15) -- Child's knowledge base and cognitive structures are much more similar to those of an adult. Ability for abstract thought increases markedly.
Born August 9, 1896, Jean Piaget was a child who was very interested in nature and enjoyed shell collecting. He was born in Neuchatel, Switzerland to a father who was a professor of medieval language and a mother who was a very intelligent and energetic woman. His interest in collecting mollusks developed in such a degree that he wrote a letter...