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Child Development Essay

847 words - 4 pages

Understanding child development means that we as carers and parents can understand skills and typical behaviours of children within our care, providing an environment which is nurturing and one that will foster growth. Laura Berk (2000) provides a simple definition of child development; “a field of study devoted to understanding all aspects of human growth and change from conception through adolescence.” (Berk: 2000, p4). This paper will look at three important theories of child development that you as a teacher or parent should know in order to understand the changes that take place from birth to adulthood.
When we talk about child development we refer to three stages called development ...view middle of the document...

Piaget believed that children think differently from adults, arguing that it's not that children know less than adults but their thinking skills are qualitatively different. (ref) Many of his ideas came from observing his own children.
Piaget was convinced that intellect grows through processes he termed assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation refers to using existing mental patterns in new situations. (ref) In accommodation, existing ideas are modified to fit new requirements. Thus, new situations are assimilated to existing ideas, and new ideas are created to accommodate new experiences. In his theory children mature through a series of distinct stages in intellectual development.
Sensorimotor (0-2years): Piaget believed that an infant is born with no way of making sense of the world. Infants use reflexes which act on the world in specific ways so that the child gradually adapts to the world. Motor movements are seen as the basis for the eventual development of intelligence. These slowly become separated from motor activity as the child learns to represent objects, actions and thoughts through play and language. According to Piaget, object permanence emerges during infancy. This relates to the understanding that objects continue to exist even though they are out of sight.
Preoperational (2-7 years): Piaget describes toddler's thinking as illogical. This is due to two main characteristics of their thinking processes; egocentricism and centation. Piaget sees young children's thinking as egocentric; meaning they can only see things from their point of view. They cannot take into account the ideas or needs of others. Due to their stage of cognitive development their thinking...

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