Theories of Child Development and Learning

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[pic] [pic] [pic] [pic]Theories of Child Development and Learning [pic] Several theories of child development and learning have influenced discussions of school readiness. Three have had profound impact on kindergarten readiness practices. These three theories include the maturationist, environmentalist, and constructivist perspectives of development (Powell, 1991). Maturationist Theory The maturationist theory was advanced by the work of Arnold Gessell. Maturationists believe that development is a biological process that occurs automatically in predictable, sequential stages over time (Hunt, 1969). This perspective leads many educators and families to assume that young children will acquire knowledge naturally and…show more content…
Constructivist Theory The constructivist perspective of readiness and development was advanced by theorists such as Jean Piaget, Maria Montessori, and Lev Vygotsky. Although their work varies greatly, each articulates a similar context of learning and development. They are consistent in their belief that learning and development occur when young children interact with the environment and people around them (Hunt, 1969). Constructivists view young children as active participants in the learning process. In addition, constructivists believe young children initiate most of the activities required for learning and development. Because active interaction with the environment and people are necessary for learning and development, constructivists believe that children are ready for school when they can initiate many of the interactions they have with the environment and people around them. Constructivist-influenced schools and educators pay a lot of attention to the physical environment and the curriculum of the early childhood classroom. Kindergarten classrooms often are divided into different learning centers and are equipped with developmentally appropriate materials for young children to play with and manipulate. Teachers and adults have direct conversations with children, children move actively from center to another,
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