Theories on How Children Develop and Learn

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cognitive / constructivist
Jean Piaget – he believed that we take in information and that our brains process it and as a result of this our behaviour changes. He felt that children move through different stages in their development and that adults play an important role as they support children through different stages of development. He believed that children learn through process of adapting and understanding known as: Assimilation – taking in new information from the environment through doing everyday actions (crawling, touching, rolling…) Accommodation – changing existing patterns of actions to accommodate new information (avoid crawling into the wall as it hurts) Equilibration – balancing what they already know with new experience to make sense of the world (I can crawl on this; it is nice soft and warm. I can crawl over there too – but it is not so nice it is slippery and cold.) He grouped children’s cognitive development into four stages: 0 -2 years – Sensori-motor – children have basic reflexes and they learn through senses and movement. The infant will develop schema linked to grasping, shaking and hitting. 2 – 7 years – Pre-operational – the children begin to develop symbolic play experiences. Their language and literacy skills develop quickly during this period. The children are egocentric; they mainly see things from their point of view and have difficulties putting themselves into someone else’s position. 7 – 12 years – Concrete operational – they are developing more structured and logical thought. Towards the end of this period they begin to understand abstract ideas. 12 + years – Formal operational – young people can think about ideas situations have not experienced. They can juggle with ideas in their minds. Piaget's theory of moral understanding was formulated using similar research methods to his Cognitive Development. He used a clinical interview approach, asking children to explain how...
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