Theories of Child Development

Theories of development that have influenced current practice (CYP 3.1   LO2.3)

Area of development : Cognitive
Theorist : Jean Piaget

Theory :

    • Children construct or build up their thoughts according to their experiences of the world around them.
    • The child’s conclusions or thoughts are known as ‘schema’.
    • The child adapts their schema when new information is received.
    • As the child develops so does their thinking
    • Children go through 4 fixed stages to developing independent thinking:
        o Sensori-motor (0-2 yrs)
              ▪ Development of object permanence
              ▪ Begins to use symbols
        o Pre-operational (2-7 yrs)
              ▪ Uses symbols in play and thought
              ▪ Egocentrism
              ▪ Centration
              ▪ Animism
              ▪ Inability to conserve
        o Concrete operational (7-11 yrs)
              ▪ Ability to conserve
              ▪ Begin to solve mental problems using practical supports
        o Formal operational (11-15 yrs)
              ▪ Can think about situations that they have not experienced
              ▪ Can juggle with ideas in their minds

Area of development : Cognitive
Theorist : Lev Vygotsky

Theory :

Vygotsky believed that

    • Children’s social environment and experiences are very important
    • Children were born to be sociable
    • That by being with their parents and then with friends, they learnt skills and concepts
    • Saw children as ‘apprentices’ learning and gaining understanding through being with others. (Known as scaffolding)
    • Maturation was an important element in a child’s development
    • Carers needed to extend their learning so that they could use their emerging skills and concepts
    • He defined this idea as ‘zone of proximal development’.
    • Stressed the importance of social interaction
    • The need for adults to work alongside children
    • Children...