Jean Piaget And The Contemporary Field Of Child Development

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In todays modern world there are hundreds of psychologists and theorists actively researching child development. However, if there was a God of child development it is, without question, Jean Piaget. Piaget (1896-1980) was a Swiss theorist who “had influenced the contemporary field of child development more than any other” (Berk, 2006, p.18). Although Piagets work is remarkable, Berk (2006) stated that “it did not get much attention until the 1960s, mainly because Piagets ideas were at odds with behaviorism, which dominated North American psychology in the mid-twentieth century” (p.18). Unlike popular opinion during his time, Jean Piaget was a cognitive developmental theorist who believed that “children act like scientists in creating…show more content…
Piaget said that these building blocks become more numerous and elaborate as a child actively learns and grows older. Piagetian theory states that schemas are significant at a very early age when babies are learning how to move their bodies. Kail and Zolner (2014) further stated that “schemas are conceptual models that organize experience based on actions in infancy and abstract properties in adolescence” (p.150). Piaget’s image of the child was so different than the main ideas circulating at the time. He questioned some of the theories such as the idea that intelligence and development is inherited. Because of Piagets research he “convinced the field that children are active learners and his research is now widely used today” (Berk, 2006, p.19). It is evident why Piaget was, and is still, such an icon in child development. He believed that children’s minds are rich with knowledge and that children want to be active learners just as a scientist constantly want to figure things out. This image of the child makes Piaget a well respected person and looked up to in the world of child development. Piagetian theory of cognitive development includes four main stages. Sensorimotor stage is from birth to two years of age, preoperational stage is from ages two to seven, concrete operational stage is from seven to eleven years of age, and formal operational stage is from eleven years and on. During the preoperational, young children are able to think about
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