Piaget's Cognitive Development And Child Development

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Developmental psychology makes an attempt to comprehend the types and sources of advancement in children’s cognitive, social, and language acquisition skills. The pioneering work done by early child development theorists has had a significant influence on the field of psychology as we know it today. The child development theories put forward by both Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson have had substantial impacts on contemporary child psychology, early childhood education, and play therapy. In this essay, I aim to highlight the contribution of these two theorists in their study of various developmental stages, the differences and similarities in their theories, and their contributions to the theory and practice of play therapy.

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He suggested that all children would pass through the stages in the same sequence, as each successive stage represents a more complex way of thinking, and is built on the solid foundation of the previous stage. He suggested that although generally children tend to pass through the same stage around the same age, this is a process which cannot be rushed, and each individual child has their own pace of development (Shaffer, 1999).

The four stages Piaget outlined are representative of levels in the development of intelligence, and provide a list of schemas children employ at each level. " A schema is a representation in the mind of a set of ideas, perceptions, and actions, that provide a mental structure to help us organize our past experiences, and prepare us for future experiences." (Kindersley, 2012, p.266). Through the learning process, children change their schemata by adapting, due to assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation adds new information to the existing schemata while adaptation modifies new information into the schemata. Ideally, there is balance between assimilation and accommodation to ensure equilibrium (Shaffer,
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Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development

1. Trust versus mistrust
From birth to one year of age, infants develop a sense of trust if caregivers provide care, affection, and reliability in fulfilling their basic needs. A lack of adequate provision of these factors will lead to mistrust (Shaffer, 1999).

2. Autonomy versus shame and doubt
Toddlers from one to three years old must develop a sense of independence and a sense of personal control over physical skills, becoming able to feed, dress, and go to the toilet themselves. Failure leads to feelings of shame and self doubt (Shaffer, 1999).

3. Initiative versus guilt
From three to six years old, children begin attempting to act grown up, and need to explore asserting control and power over their environment. Success at this stage results in a sense of purpose, however, children who try to exert too much power may experience disapproval and be reprimanded, resulting in feelings of guilt (Shaffer, 1999).

4. Industry versus inferiority
Going to school places new social and academic demands on children between the age of six and twelve. The acquisition of adequate social and academic skills leads to children feeling self-assured, whereas failure to do so results in feelings of inferiority (Shaffer,

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