Development is about the customary way that a child acts (Bruce & Meggit, 2006). Child development is multidisciplinary. Several researches have put forward theories on the way children developed. These can be divided into the psychoanalytical theories, the learning theories, and the cognitive development theories. In this assignment, I will explain a number of these theories by showing what the theorists had developed.
Jean Piaget: (Cognitive-development theory)
Jean Piaget was a psychologist and was best known for his work on the development of intelligence in children. His studies have had a major impact on he fields of child psychology and education. One of the most important theories in his work was the Theory of Cognitive Development. Piaget believed that complex forms of thinking lie primarily in the child’s private explorations. The child’s learning is most effective when he discovers things by himself. However, this kind of learning is limited by the child’s age.
The understanding and interpretation of the experiences and the knowledge that children acquire is divided into mental units called schemas. The new information gathered either replaces or adds up to existing schemas (Class Notes, 2010-2011). In order to adapt to these new concepts a child must go through the process of adaptation. This includes the assimilation, accommodation and equilibrium of the information. Thus the child first experiences new events or activities through which he tries to make sense by integrate this data into existing schemas (assimilation). This is balanced with the process of accommodation, during which the child tries to adopt their previous knowledge to the new experiences. ( O’ Hagan & Curtis, 2003). According to Piaget, this is the basis to development change (Class Notes, 2008). As stated by Bee and Boyd 2004) equilibrium is then the process of bringing assimilation and accommodation into balance.
From these equilibrium points Piaget came up with four stages. This is more known as Piaget Stage Theory of Cognitive Development which is a description of cognitive development as four distinct stages in children that are the sensor motor stage (0-2 years), the preoperational stage (2-7 years), the concrete operational stage (2-7 years), and the formal operational stage.
1st Stage: The Sensorimotor period (Birth to 2 years old)
In this early stage the children builds and understanding of him or her and discover how the things work as they make interactions with the environment around them. The child starts to use the senses such as touching, sucking, feeling to learn new things about the environment and themselves. In the sensorimotor period, schemas are simple. For example the child develops sucking schema and also the child organizes information to what can be sucked and how sucking actions can vary.
In the end of this stage the children will start developing words (language). Children acquire object permanence at about 7 months of age (memory). Physical development (mobility) allows the child to begin developing new intellectual abilities.
Piaget calls this the sensorimotor stage since the early expression of intelligence appears from motor activities and sensory perceptions. During this stage children develop the concept of object permanence. This is the awareness that an object is still existent though it is not in view.
2nd Stage: The Preoperational period ( 2-7 years)
The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical situations. Objects are classified in simple ways, especially by important features. The child’s thinking is mostly egocentric. Piaget points out that at this stage the child have difficulty in understanding things from other people’s point of view. The child may have difficulty with classification. This stage leads to the concrete operational stage.
3rd Stage: Concrete operational period ( 7-11 years)...