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Theories of Child Development Essay

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❶Since a variety of theories exists, we need to understand these different approaches for working with children.

Theories of Child Development Essay Sample

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Since a variety of theories exists, we need to understand these different approaches for working with children. The following are just a few of the many child development theories that have been proposed by theorists and researchers.

Psychoanalytic child development theories proposed by Sigmund Freud in the early 20th century, stressed the importance of childhood events and experiences, but almost exclusively focused on mental disorders rather that normal functioning. It also looks at how these thought processes influence how we understand and interact with the world. The Cognitivists include Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bruner.

The foremost cognitive thinker was Jean Piaget, who proposed an idea that seems obvious now, but helped revolutionize how we think about child development: Children think differently than adults. Jean Piaget was born in Switzerland in Piaget began his career at the age of 22; it had a profound impact on both psychology and education. Piaget developed an interest in the intellectual development of children. Piaget created a theory of cognitive development that described the basic stages that children go through as they mentally mature.

His key Concepts were: Schemas — both the mental and physical actions involved in understanding and knowing. Assimilation — The process of taking in new information into our previously existing schema. Accommodation — involves changing or altering our existing schemas in light of new information, Equilibration — Piaget believed that all children try to strike a balance between assimilation and accommodation, which is achieved through a process which Piaget called equilibration.

As children progress through the stages of cognitive development, it is important to maintain a balance between applying previous knowledge assimilation and changing behaviour to account for new knowledge accommodation. Equilibration helps explain how children are able to move from one stage of thought into the next. The first three stages occur during early childhood and the early school age years. The sensorimotor stage takes place between birth and two years of age. Infants use all their senses to explore and learn.

The preoperational stage takes place between ages two and seven. Children during this stage are very egocentric. Concrete operations begin during the ages of seven to eleven years. Children develop the capacity to think systematically, but only when they can refer to actual objects and use hands-on activities.

Most children proceed through the stages in order. Each stage builds on a previous stage. However, the age at which a child progresses through these stages is variable due to differences in maturation. Many teaching strategies have evolved from his work. Care workers and teachers now know that learning is an active process.

Providing children with stimulating, hands on activities helps them build knowledge. While Piaget did not specifically apply his theory in this way, many educational programs are now built upon the belief that children should be taught at the level for which they are developmentally prepared. These strategies include providing a supportive environment, utilizing social interactions and peer teaching, and helping children see inconsistencies in their thinking.

Along with Piaget, Jerome S. Bruner is one of the best known and influential cognitive and educational psychologists of the twentieth century. He has made a profound contribution to our understanding of the process of education and to the development of curriculum theory. After obtaining his PhD he became a member of staff at Harvard, serving as professor of psychology, as well as cofounding and directing the Centre for Cognitive Studies at the University.

In the s Bruner developed a theory of cognitive growth. His approach in contrast to Piaget looked to environmental and experiential factors. Bruner suggested that intellectual ability developed in stages, through step-by-step changes in how the mind is used. It had a direct impact on education policy formation in the United States and influenced the thinking of a wide group of teachers and scholars.

He believes that a child of any age is capable of understanding complex information. In his research on the cognitive development of children, he proposed three modes of representation: In accordance with his understanding of the learning process, Bruner proposed the concept of the spiral curriculum.

This involved information being structured so that complex ideas can be taught at a simplified level first, and then re-visited at more complex levels later on. Therefore, subjects would be taught at levels of gradually increasing difficultly hence the spiral analogy.

Ideally he believed teaching his way should lead to children being able to solve problems by themselves. He thought the role of the teacher should not be to teach information by mechanical repetitious learning, but instead to facilitate the learning process.

This means that good teachers will design lessons that help students discover the relationship between bits of information. To do this a teachers must give students the information they need, but without organizing it for them. In , Bruner turned his attention toward the subject of developmental psychology.

The popularity of the scaffolding metaphor indicates its conceptual significance and practical value for teaching and educational research. At Oxford University in , a building in the education department was named in his honour; he also gave a lecture on his theories of story-telling as a vital learning tool. Bruner at 97 is still going strong, teaching in the law department at New York University.

A man named Burrhau Fredric Skinner was one of the main influences on this movement with his research on operant conditioning. Skinner was a behavioural psychologist from the USA who in coined the term operant conditioning. He suggested that as children develop so does their thinking. Teachers are working out the needs of children and plan activities adorning to their needs. He suggested that children were born to be sociable and by being with parents and then with friends they learned and gained understanding from them.

He suggested that people in early years setting working with children should extend and challenge their thoughts in order for their development to be achieved. The behaviourist approach to learning suggests that behaviour is learned from environmental factors, rewards and punishments. The consequences of actions are. Children must have some control over the direction of their learning; children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing; children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore; and children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves Influence:.

The Montessori approach is designed to support the natural development of children in a well-prepared environment. This approach begins in the United States, as a way of improving outcomes for disadvantaged children. It is an established model which influences children to be involved with decision making and taking responsibility. Children are considered active learners so play is used as the model for learning.

Routines are also considered highly important as children gain stability and consistency from this and respond better from this. Building a strong relationship with parents is also a main principle of this approach along with the appropriate curriculum.

The Steiner concept which involves a more holistic approach to education Lessons are focused on spiritual, creative and social skills with less of a focus on intellectual skills.

Play with natural objects is encouraged for babies and toddlers Teachers are meant to plan adult-directed play and provide for child-initiated play. A key person will know the rate of a child development and will plan activities to help them move it along while also making sure that it is safe and suitable for their age. We must remember that all children are different and will have different ideas and opinions and we should respect them. We might need to change the way we talk to child because of their age or disability e.

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This essay will be summarising the contributions and shortcomings of the Cognitive-Developmental theory and firstly explore the background and key concept’s of Piaget’s work behind child development.

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Psychoanalytic theory has also inspired a wealth of research on many aspects of emotional and social development. Freud's () theory was the first to stress the influence of the early parent-child relationship on development, however, his perspective was eventually criticised.

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Understanding how children and adolescents grow and determining the stage process is a complicated compilation of theories. Many philosophers and doctors have their own philosophy of how the body and mind develop. There is no right and wrong in their philosophies, they are estimates of human growth 3/5(25). This free Psychology essay on Child development theories is perfect for Psychology students to use as an example.

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 Photographic Essay Child Development and Theories Introduction For this activity, I chose Jesus Lares from Tacoma, Washington. Jesus is 8 years old, in the 3rd grade, . Three developmental theories are broken down to understand the concepts, points of similarity and difference, and the interaction of cognitive, physical, and emotional development of a child. The three theorist perspectives analyzed in this essay include Erikson, Kohlberg, and Piaget.