Notebook, 1993-

NOTES on: Child Development

Motor Development 0-18 Months -- Ainsworth's Phases of Attachment -- The Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale -- Drawing Sequence / Evolution of Spontaneous Abilities -- Erick Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Dilemma -- Selman's Role-Taking Levels -- Kohlbergs Stages of Moral Development -- Language Development -- Parten's Play Stages -- Piaget's Cognitive Stages -- Piaget's - Cognitive Operations -- Contrasting Characteristics of Prenatal and Postnatal Life -- Stages of Prenatal Development

Notes from: Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1989; Zigler, Edward F. and Matia Finn-Stevensen, Yale University. Children, Development and Social Issues, D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington, MA & Toronto, 1987.

Piaget's Cognitive Stages

Jean Piaget (1896-1980). Cognitive-developmental theorist. Cognition refers to the way in which we gain knowledge through perception, memory, and thought processing. The cognitive approach regards the child as a spontaneously active individual who constructs his own knowledge of the world. Development is not a series of cumulative changes, but rather that as the child develops, the mind undergoes a series of reorganizations. With each reorganization, the child moves to a higher level of psychological functioning.

Genetic epistemology. Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge. From the moment of birth the individual explores the environment with whatever level of capability he has, and through these explorations he learns, so that his views of the environment change.

[Piaget] felt there exists an underlying organization of thought in the individual, referred to as cognitive structures, intrinsic schema, which is tied to stages in intellectual development. Piaget's theories about how we think, how we gain knowledge are not organic--not based on neurological model. Based on his own three children. Ages in sequence not specific. Sequence, however, is invariant. Today, there are serious questions about some of his basic assumptions and findings. For example--he felt that all learning came about through doing, or action--however--aspects of knowledge do not develop in this manner. There have been cases of complete cognitive development in persons completely paralyzed with cerebral policy--cognitive development that did not occur as a result of action and interaction with their environment....

A. It is the nature of an individual to organize and to adapt. Adaptation occurs through 2 processes: Accommodation and assimilation. A pull. Equilibrium is developed from the pull of accommodation and assimilation. And, disequilibrium is at times a part of that process.*] Thus, Intellect grows through TWO PROCESSES:

Thus: New situations are assimilated to existing ideas,
and new ideas are created to accommodate new experiences

B. Cognitive or Intellectual growth and development has stages:

Description of Stages

l. Sensorimotor stage [0-2 Years] - In the first two years of life, a child's intellectual development is largely nonverbal. The child is mainly concerned with learning to coordinate purposeful movements with information from the senses. Kids learn about their environment by touching, tasting, smelling. Also important at this time is gradual emergence of the concept of object permanence. This and representation or mental pictures do not really occur until about 18 mos. to 2 years. By about age 1 and 1/2, the child begins to actively pursue disappearing objects. By age 2, the child can anticipate the movement of an object behind a screen. For example, when watching an electric train, the child looks ahead to the end of a tunnel, rather than staring at the spot where the train disappeared. In general, developments in this stage indicate that the child's conceptions are becoming more stable. Objects cease to appear and disappear magically, and a more orderly and predictable world replaces the confusing and disconnected sensations of infancy. NOTE: Active play with a child is most effective at this stage. Encourage explorations in touching, smelling, and manipulating objects. Peekaboo is a good way to establish the permanence of objects.

2. Preoperational stage [2-7 years] - Language is the big thing. They are developing ability to think symbolically and to use language. But, child's thinking is still very intuitive. Very concrete. The name for a thing is real--is the thing. Can't shut them up. Words become intriguing and fascinating to them. But they have a tendency to confuse words with the objects they represent (if a child labels a block a car and you use it to make a train, child may be upset.) To children, the name of an object is as much a part of the object as its size, shape, and color. This brings about a preoccupation with name calling, and an insulting name may hurt as much as 'sticks and stones." "You panty-girdle!" is no joke. Quite egocentric = unable to take the viewpoint of other people. Can't differentiate between fantasy and reality. [Magical thinking. The child is the center of the world, it is "mine" and "I made that happen." "Real" sense of control. If parents are going through divorce problems, the child may feel totally responsible. Not a period of logic. What the child can see and manipulate concretely --that's the experience. Experience is not what the child might logically follow through...*] Reversibility (unable to reverse their thoughts - "I have a brother, Tim." "Does Tim have a brother?" " No.") NOTE: Although children are beginning to talk to themselves and act out solutions to problems, touching and seeing things will continue to be more useful than verbal explanations. Concrete examples will also have more meaning than generalizations. The child should be encouraged to classify things in different ways. Learning the concept of conservation may be aided by demonstrations involving liquids, beads, clay, and other substances.

NOTE - Knowledge "Interposes" at age 7 and up. TheCorpus Callosumbecomes fully
matured and sheathing occurs between the ages of six and seven years old --causing an increased efficiency [like insulated wiring]. This seems to enable both hemispheres of the brain to interact. In terms of drawings, it will become evident that they are using concepts of knowledge to make connections, build relationships and see wholeness rather than an agglomeration of parts. Gradually, their knowledge about things and their concepts about them become interposed between their direct response and the drawn image. A separation begins to exist between the observed world and the imaginative, created world of their drawings: between their response to the world around them and what they begin to know and learn about that world. This is also a time when the materials they use seem to misbehave and not respond in the way they wish. It is thus a time when children first experience the tension between their ideas and the forms which materials take, for a drawing will always be a drawing and can never be the object depicted. In other words, children can realize that a drawing is a translation of reality in materials, not a copy of it. [Keith Gentle, in DRAWING FOR THE SCHOOLS, A Conference, January 14, 1983, Maryland Institute, Collage of Art, Baltimore, MD, Editor: Dr. Al Hurwitz, Chairman, Art Teacher Education Department.]

3. Concrete Operational Stage [7-11 Years] - [Increasingly logical. Inductive learning--can do mental manipulations as well as physical ones.*] Child is able to learn and master a concept called conservation: the original amount is conserved--irregardless of what you do to an object, the value remains the same (appearance of clay changes but the volume doesn't) - or - Size of container may vary, but contents remains the same. And, a child's thoughts begin to include the concepts of time, space, and number. Categories and principles are used, and the child can think logically about concrete objects or situations. Stop believing in Santa Claus--his sack couldn't possibly hold that much--couldn't possibly go to everyone's house, etc. Another important development at this time is the ability to reverse thoughts or operations. If 4 x 2 = 8.....well, then 2 x 4 must also equal 8. Younger children must memorize each relationship separately. NOTE: Children in this stage are beginning to use generalizations, but they still require specific examples to grasp many ideas. Expect a degree of inconsistency in the child's ability to apply concepts of time, space, quantity , and volume to new situations.

4. Formal operation Stage [11 years and up] - Abstract thinking. Deductive reasoning--not necessarily tied to experience. Not all individuals attain this stage of cognitive development in all areas. Sometime after about the age of 11, the child begins to break away from concrete objects and specific examples. Thinking is based more on abstract principles. They can think about their thoughts, and they become less egocentric. Thinking is more abstract. They are able to consider hypothetical possibilities. A child attains full adult intellectual abilities during this stage. Will try to understand and seek solutions, consider the possibilities and discuss their implications. The older adolescent is capable of inductive and deductive reasoning and can comprehend math, physics, philosophy, psychology, and other abstract systems. From this point on, improvements in intellectual ability are based on gaining knowledge, experience, and wisdom, rather than on gains in basic thinking capacity.

NOTE: At this point, it becomes more realistic to explain things verbally or symbolically to a child. Helping the child to master general rules and principles now becomes productive. Encourage the child to create hypotheses and to imagine how things could be..

[Notes from: Coon, Dennis. Introduction to Psychology, Exploration and Application. St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1989; Zigler, Edward F. and Matia Finn-Stevensen, Yale University. Children, Development and Social Issues, D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington, MA & Toronto, 1987.]



The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only. The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without proper reference to Text, Author, Publisher, and Date of Publication [and page #s when suitable].