EDEC102- FOUNDATIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD
Name of the University
Table of Contents
Early childhood suggests the period from birth to eight years of age which regarded as a crucial stage of human development (En.unesco.org, 2019). During this phase, children are largely influenced by the people as well as the environment around them. One of the remarkable features of early childhood is that the brain of the children develops swiftly compared to any other period. Based on my early childhood days, I wish to have had Jean Piaget as my teacher. In this assignment, the cognitive development theory of Piaget is going to be elaborated backed by relevant reference.
Explanation of the cognitive development theory of Piaget
Piaget’s cognitive development theory illustrates the way a child contrives a mental framework about the world. Discarding the notion of intelligence as a fixed trait, He has defined the cognitive development as a method that takes place on account of biological effective interaction with the atmosphere and biological maturation (Demetriou, Shayerb & Efklides, 2016). Piaget was the first theorist who had conducted an elaborative study pertaining to cognitive development. Before Piaget, there was a widespread assumption in the area of psychology that a child lacks competency in terms of thinking compared to his/her adult counterparts. By carrying out a systematic study Piaget has demonstrated that the thinking methods of children are significantly different compared to their adult counterparts ((Demetriou, Shayerb & Efklides, 2016). Piaget has opined that a child is born with a unique mental framework that was predominantly genetically evolved. It is this structure on which subsequent knowledge and learning are situated.
Piaget’s Cognitive Theory has three primary components, such as schemas, adaption methods and phases of cognitive development. These components are elongated below:
Schemas are regarded as the primary foundation of the cognitive framework (Saxe, 2015). It abets a child to create a mental representation of the globe. According to Piaget, schema is a recurring and cohesive action sequence holding competent action that is heavily intermingled and ruled by a core meaning. Simply speaking, Piaget has defined schema as the primary foundation pertaining to intelligent behaviour. He has focussed on the significance of the schemas in the domain of cognitive development and illustrated how they had been harnessed. Piaget firmly believes that a newborn baby possesses a small amount of innate schemas. These schemas suggest the cognitive structure that underlies in the innate reflexes (Saxe, 2015). He has further opined that these reflexes are programmed genetically within a child. For instance, a baby may possess a ‘sucking schema’.
Assimilation suggests utilising an existing schema in terms of dealing with a new circumstance or object (Lind, 2017). This is a subjective process because human beings seek to alter information and experience to some extent in order to adapt to their pre-existing notions.
This takes place when the pre-existing schema (such as knowledge) fails to work and requires to be altered in terms of dealing with new circumstance or object. During this process, new schemas can be developed (Ahmad et al., 2016).
Piaget firmly believed that all the kids seek to create a balance between accommodation and assimilation that can be ensured with the help of another mechanism, termed as equilibration. Piaget has advocated that a process of cognitive development takes place by leaps and bounds. Equilibrium takes place when the schemas of a child can able to deal with new information through the process of assimilation (Ahmad et al., 2016). Contrarily, an uncomfortable state of disequilibrium takes place when new information cannot adjust with the existing assimilation. It is the force that facilitates the process of learning. Equilibration abets to illustrate how kids can transit from one phase of thought to another.
The four stages of the theory
Piaget has talked about the four phases in relation to the process of cognitive development that demonstrates the amplifying sophistication of the thought of the children. The four phases are jotted down below:
- Sensorimotor phase
- Preoperational phase
- Concrete operational phase
- Formal operational stage
Each child has to transit through the aforementioned stages and the method of child development is characterised by the interaction with the surrounding environment and biological development. Although Piaget did not assert the fact that a specific stage can be attained at a particular age, the illustration of the phases sometimes encompasses a suggestion of the age at which an average child would attain each of the phases.
Sensorimotor phase (Birth- 2 years)
In the theory of cognitive development propounded by Piaget, the sensorimotor stage suggests the phase when infants start to think something with the abetment of their motor actions and senses. During this phase, infants relentlessly touch, look, manipulate and chew things. Piaget has opined that these activities have facilitated them to acquire learning about the world and are therefore vitally important to their early cognitive evolution. The activities of the infants facilitate the child to develop an understanding of events and objects (De Ribaupierre & Lecerf, 2017). For instance, a toy animal, at first can be a plethora of sensation, however by observing looking, feeling and playing upon it continuously, the child sequentially develops his/her sensations into a stable concept (toy animal). Piaget has termed the sense of stability as object permanence.
During the phase of infancy, the evolution of Sensorimotor primarily takes place without the assistance of language (De Ribaupierre & Lecerf, 2017). A number of simple yet clever experiments have been contrived by Piaget in order to cast light on the way infants think.
Preoperational phase (2-7 years)
In this stage, children employ their new ability in terms of demonstrating objects in a wide array of activities. It is from this phase when a child can able to think about objects symbolically. One of the most prominent instances of such cognition is dramatic play. Another striking characteristic associated with the stage is tendency among the children to be egocentric. They struggle to observe objects from others. While children have been becoming better with thinking and language to some extent, they still try to percept about objects in concrete terms (Morss, 2017). Piaget states that this is the stage when a kid acquires learning with the abetment of pretend play. For instance, if a researcher offers child two objects- a compact ball and flat shaped object made of clay, a child passing through this stage might likely opt-in the flat-shaped object as it looks larger. However, in reality, both of the objects are equal in size.
Concrete operational phase (7-11 years)
At this phase, children start to think in a logical way regarding a concrete thing. They become much proficient in terms of employing logic. The egocentrism belonging to the previous stage starts to fade away gradually as children become much adept at thinking concerning the perspective of the other people in terms of observing a specific circumstance. At this point of development, children have to struggle significantly with hypothetical and abstract concepts.
Formal operational stage (age 11 and over)
The final stage associated with the cognitive evolution theory deals with the development of child in terms of logic, understanding of abstract ideas and efficiency of deductive reasoning. At this stage, the adolescent starts to think abstractly (Arnett, Chapin & Brownlow, 2018). He/she also develops the efficiency of making reasons concerning hypothetical issues. During this phase, adolescents become efficient in finding multiple probable solutions to issues. They also tend to see the world from a more scientific point of view. It is relevant to point out that the ability to perceive abstract concepts and circumstances is the predominant hallmark in the phase of formal operation.
The implication of cognitive development theory is profound in the area of developmental psychology (Arnett, Chapin & Brownlow, 2018). He has transformed the perception of people concerning the world of a child. The theory has resulted in a significant amount of research that has amplified the understanding of the people related to cognitive evolution. The ideas forwarded by Piaget have ushered in a rapid transformation regarding the process of establishing communication with the children.
Aligning Piaget’s theory with the percept of my religious background
The development of human is considered to be a lifelong process starting from early childhood until the end of time. According to different theories available the relation between both the domains of cognition and spirituality has been established successfully (Meadows, 2017). The theory of Piaget explains that the mental development of a child passes through four different stages through which the child acquires cognitive development. This theory’s prime focus is on both the processes relating to the way of acquiring knowledge of the children along with understanding the children’s nature of intelligence. I will be discussing the alignments which I have found in this theory and my religious background which is Christianity.
According to the traditional theory of Piaget, the children pass through three different stages of religious development. A close similarity has been noticed in a study conducted with several children where the response of the children regarding their picturing of religion and the stories of the Bible match with the theories of Piaget. Religious development is aligned with the study of spiritualism which is again based on the religious belief and behaviour of the people. From a very tender age, we are made aware of the different religious aspects which help in shaping the behaviour and beliefs (Kallio, 2015). According to Piaget’s religious theory, the first stage says the children below the age of 7 to 8 years have no predefined sense of belief as their thoughts are mostly fragmented and unsystematic. Post this period occurs the period between 8 to 14 years where the children learn focusing on different details of the happenings which enhances their nature of understanding rather than focusing on the knowledge which has been acquired. Continuing the same process from the age of 14 they start having a religious thought which is abstract in nature. This is how the nature of intelligence of the children can be judged by getting an account of their perception they have from similar stories. According to Christianity, individual development is aimed for every child with the help of knowledge and belief which is similar to this theory where it also focuses on the development of the child with the help of knowledge along with understanding the nature of intelligence.
Alignment or misalignment of Piaget’s theory with the Biblical, Christian worldview
To understand the relationship between the Bible and our ways of life it is important to include every aspect of our life in the framework of the stories of God. The Biblical worldview states the different responsibilities of the parents, training procedures and the importance of formal and informal components included in the training procedures (Aslanian, 2015). According to the theory of Piaget, knowledge is produced by people based on their set of experiences. Keeping striking similarity to the thought, the knowledge and the experiences that are shared in the children training according to the Biblical and Christian world view is based on the previous experiences which have accounts in the Bible and being transferred generation after generation. Children getting the same accounts of experiences frame their personalised understanding upon it using their level of intelligence. This is how the theory of Piaget gets aligned with the Biblical and Christian world view.
The current study has provided an elongated discussion about Piaget’s cognitive development theory depending on the point of view of my early childhood phase. The cognitive development theory relates the way a child designs a mental framework about the world. He was the first theorist to shed significant light on the area of psychological development of a child. The theory is highly beneficial in terms of obliterating an array of misconceptions concerning child development. The reflective section of the assignment revolves around that the theory has some common ground with the point of view Christianity. As put forward in the study, the theory of cognitive development aligns with the Christian worldview. Summing up the study, Piaget’s cognitive development theory has facilitated better communication with children.
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