Theories in Childhood Development

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There are many theories that focus on understanding childhood development. Different theorists focus on understanding different areas of development, while others have analyzed the same areas but came to different conclusions. The importance in understanding these theories is twofold; an educator can use these theories to monitor children’s development, and can implement ideas and practices that are appropriate according to these theories. According to Chalesworth (2017), Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky’s theories are the most commonly used and applied theory’s in early childhood development and education (Chap. 1 1-4b).

Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, focuses on the four stages of childhood cognitive development, sensory motor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal operational stage. This theory would not rationalize an educator creating a curriculum or educational setting for children, without prior assessment as to which stage they are at. As an educator I only read books, or tell stories that are age appropriate. Stories or books which focus on abstract thinking, philosophical, or moral thoughts, are not appropriate for young children. Young children at this stage are still developing basic logic, and cannot comprehend complex thoughts. As an educator I never assume a child understands a message or idea that I am giving over, I always ask them questions which clarify that they fully understand.

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As an educator, I realize how sometimes children are extremely excited with their cognitive revelation. A child can sometime excitedly tell a teacher; see I figured out how to do this puzzle, or they tell their teacher excitedly how they found a connection between two concepts. This excitement stems from a child realizing that they have grown in their cognitive abilities, and they are so proud of that revelation. When a child shows such excitement, I make sure to share in their excitement. I realize that what they are truly proud about is their cognitive growth.

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