Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
His view of how children’s minds work and develop has been enormously influential, particularly in educational theory. His particular insight was the role of maturation in children’s increasing capacity to understand their world: they cannot undertake certain tasks until they are psychologically mature enough to do so. He proposed that children’s thinking does not develop entirely smoothly: instead, there are certain points at which it “takes off” and moves into completely new areas and capabilities. He saw these transitions as taking place at about 18 months, 7 years and 11/12 years. This has been taken to mean that before these ages, children are not capable of understanding things in certain ways, and has been used as the basis for scheduling the school curriculum. Piaget was a constructivist theorist.
Constructivists believe that children develop their knowledge by constructing their own understanding and adapting it to the world around them Piaget thought children passed through four stages of cognitive development: 1 - The sensori motor stage:
This stage takes place from birth to two years. It is mainly concerned with physical development and learning to make sense of the information it is receiving through its senses. •
Manipulating objects, climbing on furniture, exploring sounds, tastes & other features of the environment. •
Piaget called this MASTERY PLAY because he saw the overall purpose of this kind of play as the child learning to master its environment. •
Object permanence – the understanding that objects are there, even when we cannot see them. (I.e. objects have a permanent existence). Piaget thought this occurred from about 8 months of age. 2 – The pre-operational stage
This stage takes place from 2 – 7 years. The child learns basic information about the world and how it works. •
During this time, Piaget said, the child mainly engages in symbolic or ‘make believe’ play. •
This type of play involves acting out...
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