Piaget's Theory of Learning and Cognitive Development - Part II
By Andrew Loh
Piaget is possibly the one of the greatest proponents of child
learning and cognitive development. In fact, child psychologists
around the world recommend using this theory as a foundation for
teaching cognitive techniques to children below the age of two
years. Once your child reaches the age of two years, he or she will
have an advanced technique to learn a series or cognitive processes
that assist them to master learning both in the classroom as well as
out of it.
Piaget also related these learning environments to the development
of cognitive techniques. He also suggested different stages of
cognitive development in a child's early life. Here are some of the
different stages of cognitive development:
Sensory-motor stage: This is the first and most important
stage of cognitive development in your child's life. It happens when
your child is about two years old. This technique involves the use
of senses and motor abilities to relate to the world around.
Reflexes and a complex combination of both sensory and motor skills
will form the basic for the basic cognitive development. However,
the first two years in a child life is a series of development of
cognitive processes that relate to each other. In fact, these
processes are very intricate and form the basis of advanced
development of cognition later in the life.
Between one and four months: Your child may show a basic
action of own choice that forms a stimulus to respond to the
ambience around him or her. For example, your child may like to suck
her or his thumb almost as an involuntary action. Your child may
also feel that it is a very good action and this will propel for
more actions that may include deep sucking with intermittent sounds.
Between four and twelve months: Once your child masters the
basic cognitive actions, he or she will turn to other actions that
help him or her to extend more to the immediate environment. Most
common actions may be sucking on the shoulders, when you hold your
child or it may even be a simple squeezing action on a soft toy.
These actions will be repetitive and they can extend for some time
Between 12 months and 24 months: By the time your child
reaches her or his second birthday, things would stabilize as far as
development of cognitive processes is concerned. Your child will try
to use a number of variations to master cognitions. Some of the most
common learning actions could be:
Hitting the ground with a stick
Hitting the drums with a stick
Hitting the table with a stick
These simple actions are always repetitive and they help your
children to master these basic skills to perfection. All these
learning process will eventually help your child to retain the image
in his or her mind for a longer period. In fact, they can even
remember the action they performed sometime ago and repeat it again
after some time. They also learn how to use a fine combination of
different cognitive techniques to solve simple problems.
The stage that helps your child to develop learning process is the
preoperational stage that lasts from about two years to seven years
of his or her life. By the time your child enters his or her second
year, the ability to retain mental pictures would enhance rapidly.
Your child will also be able to pretend things and mimic different
actions, he or she will be putting the first small steps forward to
use various symbols as a learning process. In essence, a symbol is a
thing that signifies that there is something. Some simple examples
of symbols are a picture, a written syllable and even a simple
drawing of an animal or bird.
Young children are very good at creative play. Your child will start
learning how to involve in a round of creative play by using fine
senses of cognition and motor skills. He or she will also be able to
understand and comprehend both the past and future. Some simple
Example #1: You will see your child crying for missing
toy and you will say, "I will find your toys very soon". Now,
your child will stop crying just because he or she will anticipate
something good in the near future.
Example #2: You will see your child crying after
falling down from the steps. You will ask now, "Do you remember
where you fell down?" Your child will respond to your query now
with a sad and quizzical face, "No".
Tip: Most growing children tend to be too egocentric and
selfish. Piaget believes that this could be the result of an
intensive learning process where a child will like to keep the
learning process secretive.
Piaget also believes that children are children and they simply lack
the ability to reason as a fully-grown adult. Hence, parents should
treat their children as someone who are still trying to get a
foothold in the big world. Parents can easily learn Piaget's ideas
on how children learn various skills of cognition and thinking and
later use them to develop their children's basic brain.
Thinking Goes to School: Piaget's Theory in Practice
By Hans G. Furth and Harry Wachs
This book makes an excellent reading for those interested in
learning more than the basic techniques of vision therapy.
Some prior knowledge in psychology and the visual system is
helpful, but anyone can learn from and enjoy this book. This
book is older than most, but I felt that the ideas suggested
and theories discussed were relevant to today's therapy.
You can adapt certain suggestions to suit today's equipment
that is more modern. This book proposes to show how children
can be prepared to develop their full potential as
'thinking' human beings. The activities or 'games' described
provide a general foundation that should help the child to
deal successfully with specific academic subjects.