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img s.gifThe Life and Contributions of Jean Piaget
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Congnitive Theory   A Revolutionary Idea

Piaget is best known for his stages of cognitive development

Jean Piaget discovered that children think and reason differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that everyone passed through a sequence of four stages. Although every normal child passes through the stages in exactly the same order, there is some variability in the ages of the children at each stage.

These Stages are:

• Sensorimotor (birth to 2 years) - The mental structures are mainly concerned with the mastery of concrete objects.
• Preoperational (2 years to 7 years) - The mastery of symbols takes place.
• Concrete operational (7 years to 11 years) - Children learn mastery of classes, relations, and numbers and how to reason.
• Formal operational (abstract thinking) (11 years and up) deals with the mastery of thought.

Another Breakthrough Discovery

Curriculum: Educators must plan a "developmentally" appropriate curriculum that enhances students' logical and conceptual growth.

Instruction: Teachers must emphasize the role that experiences--or interactions with a student's environment play in student learning.

For example, instructors have to take into account the role that fundamental concepts, such as the permanence of objects, play in establishing cognitive structures.


Should we Reevaluate Piaget's Theories?
Jean Piaget's theories still have an incredible effect of the world we live in today. In short, Piaget thought that children everywhere in every culture grow through a sequence of intellectual growth-stages from infancy to adulthood.

However, because of the rapid change of society and its effects on children and youth of today, these theories are being considered for revision.

Researchers are saying that Maria Montessorri's theories are more appropriate for our changing society.

Overall, Both Piaget and Montessorri had similiar theories but disagreed on the exact timing of the intellectual growth stage.

Piaget believed that children had specific periods of "cognitive" or intellectual development, with children not reaching their "concrete operational" stage until age seven. Montessori, on the other hand, believed that, while children have specific "sensitive" periods for development, they should be encouraged to develop all of their senses from a very early age, and that self-learning should be based on the way those senses develop.

As a result, most Montessori preschool centers encourage children to develop, from the first year of life, a series of sequenced skills that lead to fluent writing by age four and reading around the same age. Yet other researchers say it is easy to teach children to read at an even younger age by using the latest brain research.

As much as Piaget's theories of child devolpment will always be respected; Maria Montessorri's ideas have become a very popular form of education for young children and are rapidly catching on.

 How Piaget has Influenced Me!
How Piaget has affected my life.

In starting this project, I did not think much more about Jean Piaget than he was a scientist and created world renowned theories. However, after completing this website, I have learned this is not the case.

I learned that I attended a Piaget inspired preschool where his theories about cognitive devolpment were used as guidelines for the class.

Now, this might sound strange, but I think that if I had not attended a Piaget inspired school, I would be a different person today. I was raised on the principles of independence, love and affection; which have made me a confident outspoken person. I am very grateful for this!

I intend to raise my kids this way as well. The foundations of Piaget's theories are very important in devolping an independant, intelligent child.


Annotated Bibliography
*Goldschneider, F. K., Waite, L. J., & Witsberger, C. (1986). The cognitive theory’s influence on our children. American Sociological Review, 51, 541-554.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that Maria Montessorri’s theory in comparison to Jean Piaget’s. They find their hypothesis strongly supported that Montessorri’s theories of childhood devolpment are, infact, more fiting for children of today. In contrast, an earlier study these authors shows that while Montessorri’s theories seem to be more appropriate for today, Piaget’s cognitive theory has stood the test of time and an infinite amount of children.

*Bowlby, J. (1973). The Impact of Jean Piaget. New York: Basic Books.

In addition, this book included a thorough bibliography of Piaget’s childhood experiences, hardships and most famous works. Also, this book divulged into the “timeless” theories of Piaget’s and if they still pertain to our rapidly changing society. If they do not, how do we go about improving them?

*Lasdes, N. (1992). The Cognitive Theory: Children of Today. Oxnard, CA: Oxnard School District. Rf

This book further explored Piaget’s life and works. It went more into the genetic epistemology, its functions and how it pertains to our society today. In addition, it was extremely helpful in outlining and explaining the basic cognitive theory. It went step by step in outlining the various stages and its corresponding ages.

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