Theory of Cognitive Development and Children

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Piaget's (1896-1980) work was based around the way in which children adapted and learnt about the world and how to live. He believed that accommodation, being the theory that the individual changes their ways to adapt to the environment and assimilation, which is the theory that individuals use existing knowledge to deal with the environment, where key contributors to a child's cognitive development.

Some of the main factors of Piaget's theories are that children are active learners, they learn through first hand experiences and prior experiences and that they imitate and convert what they learn into their individual behaviour styles.

Piaget's theory is constructivist because he focused on the intellectual and cognitive development and ignored the importance of social or emotional aspects. Piaget believed that a child's cognitive development happens in stages and that children flow through the stages naturally.

The first stage being the sensorimotor stage, which he stated occurs from birth to two years in a child. During this stage the child is trying to make sense of the world, they use their skills and abilities that they are born with to learn more about the environment e.g. looking grasping and listening. Piaget created sub- stages in the sensorimotor stage, this involved six different developmental stages a child would occur during the time form birth to two years –

1)Reflexes (0-1 month) – child understands environment through reflexes apparent at birth e.g. looking and listening. 2)Primary circular reactions (1-4 months) – child begins to co-ordinate sensations and acquires new schemas e.g. the child may repeat actions intentionally due to the knowledge of the pleasure it will produce. 3)Secondary circular reactions (4-8 months) – child makes determined actions that create a response from the environment. 4)Co-ordination of reactions (8-12 months) – child shows clear logic for actions, begins to explore environment and starts to mimic...
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