ECE332: Child Development
Dr. Jessica Alvarado
February 18, 2013
Piaget in the Toddler Classroom
There are a lot of things to consider when designing the layout of a toddler classroom. It is very important to create an environment that is geared toward the proper developmental stage in order for young children to get the most out their classroom. Children in the preoperational stage (2 yrs. – 7 yrs.) need a wide variety of hands-on activities to promote development. Using Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive development to design a classroom will give toddlers a wide range of activities to gain a strong foundation for learning. Jean Piaget was a Swiss biologist and psychologist whose theory of cognitive development states that children progress through four stages between particular sets of ages. The four stages are: Birth – two years - sensorimotor stage, two years to seven years – preoperational stage, seven years to eleven years – concrete operational stage, and eleven years to fifteen years – formal operational stage. This paper will address a classroom designed to benefit the development of toddlers who are in the preoperational stage (Lefrancois, 2012). Children in the early preoperational stage are extremely egocentric; that is they are unable to think about things from any point of view but their own (McLeod, 2010). Toddlers believe that everyone else sees, feels, and thinks the exact same way as they do. Animism is a big part of the preoperational stage as well. This is where children believe inanimate objects have life like traits. My classroom will promote growth and development so that young children can express themselves while learning about the world around them. There will be several centers where the children will be able to explore and learn through play both alone and in groups. I will provide quiet areas for activities such as napping and reading and activity areas where they can take part in dramatic play and construction. In order to promote language skills my classroom will be text-rich, everything will have a label. This way the students will get a head start recognizing words and the objects associated with them. Basic sign language will be used in the classroom as well. This will help the younger or non-verbal children communicate their needs to the teachers and other students. Not only will this encourage communication, it will also decrease behaviors due to frustrations that stem from children being unable to express themselves. When you enter my classroom the first thing you will find is storage for personal belongings. This way they are not distracted by bags, coats or lunch boxes throughout the day. There is a clear path from one area to the next. The storage containers are low and placed against walls. Also, large playscapes such as the loft are placed against the corner so as not to block the view to any area in the class for safety. The first area you find is the lesson area. There are multiple kidney tables placed facing one another in somewhat of a semi-circle this way the teacher can stand in the middle and all of the students can see the teacher. Also, the students can see each other which will promote socialization. This is the center of the room; a hub of sorts. As the students arrive they will be instructed to find their seats where they will find coloring sheets or table top activities until everyone arrives. There are no centers along the way to distract them. Each center is separated by shelving or other storage containers for the same reason. After Piaget tested his theory he concluded that not all children advance at the same pace. Some children hit their milestones earlier than others based on their social interactions. Because of this the students will be encouraged to play in each center in mixed groups in hopes that the children who are delayed will...