Theories of development influence current practice as they help those whom work with children and young people understand children’s behaviour, reactions and ways of learning. Theories of development covers the emotional, language and cognitive development and there are 8 main theorists who have their theories on development. They are: Jerome Bruner, Burrhus Frederic Skinner, Albert Bandura, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow and John Watson.
Jean Piaget born 1896 and died 1980 was a theorist who came up with a theory on children’s cognitive development. He came up with his theories as a result of working on intelligence test, where he noticed that children consistently gave similar wrong answers to some questions and out of interest, he began to wonder why this was. Jean Piaget came up with a theory that children pass through 4 stages of cognitive development and these are known as the sensory motor, pre- operational, concrete operational and formal operational. The sensory motor relates to those of the ages of birth to 2 years old and features their development of object permanence as well as the child beginning to use symbols i.e. language. The pre operational stage relates to those from the ages of 2 to 7 years and features the child being able to use symbols in thought and play and it features their egocentrism, centration, animism and inability to conserve. From 7 to 11 years old, the concrete operational stage features the ability to conserve and children beginning to solve mental problems using practical supports such as counters and objects and the formal operational stage is from ages 11 to 15 years old and this is where young people can think about situations that they have not experienced and being able to juggle with ideas in their minds. (Children and young people’s workforce, 2010, pg. 65)
Jean Piaget believes that