Essay on Child Development

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The cognitive process of child development and learning has influenced theorists such as Piaget, Vygtosky, Montessori, Bruner and Dewey to develop learning theories which highlight how the cognitive operation of learning occurs and how it is best achieved. The work of these theorists has become the foundation for much research and insight into how children develop on their journey towards learning.

To understand how and when children begin to learn, it is important to look at why we value the process of learning, as Peller (1946) expresses, “The function of early education is to initiate, support and accelerate developmental processes, leading from child to adulthood.”

It is also important to consider the environment that learning
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Montessori believed a child friendly environment which is accessible and understandable to children, is the best setting for cognitive development and the learning process to begin.

The two main psychological theories which we can observe to study the process of learning are Cognitive Development theories, and Social Constructivism theories.

Cognitive development theory refers to knowledge generated through learner's active exploration of the world and environment. It focuses on developmental stages children pass through, and how learning expands with maturity. This psychological theory is most commonly associated with the work of epistemologist, Jean Piaget. The basis of Piaget's theory underpinned how children arrive at what they know (Mooney, 2000). The two main stages associated with early year's education are the Sensorimotor and Preoperational stages. Piaget proposed children arrive at rational thought when they pass through these two cognitive developmental stages.

From infancy, babies show signs of a strong urge to adapt to their environment. Piaget noted that children's thought journey was a process of adaptation, assimilation and accommodation (Morse et al, 1962). He observed this adaptation as a child adjusting their behavior to

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