Explain how theories of development and frameworks to support development influence current practice
Jean Piaget – cognitive
Piaget believed that children’s cognitive learning process is in four stages. These stages are:
Sensory motor – at 0-18months to 2 years when babies learn through their senses to explore and learn the environment around them and are egocentric; they see everything from their point of view.
Pre-operational – 2-6/7 years they use language to express themselves, they don’t see things in real world, ie they think that non-living things have feelings like humans.
Concrete operations – 7-11 years children see things from other points of view and see things more logical. They are developing complex reasoning skills and objects to solve problems ie counters and beads to add.
Formal operations – 11-18 years they can manipulate ideas in their heads, such as adding up. They are logical and methodical and use a trial and error approach.
Piaget believed that the children are the active learners and that a stimulating environment is important to help children develop through these stages. This is practiced throughout our setting by planning stimulating activities and providing enriched resources that gives the children opportunities for development in all areas of learning based on the foundation phase. The activities are child lead so we do follow the theory of piaget as we believe that children are active learners. The planning ensures that the activities are suitable for the children’s sequence of development and will be adapted for each individual child’s rate of development as not all children develop at the same rate. To monitor and record the children’s development we use observations and development charts to recoginse if a child requires any support through these. These are not based on piaget’s schemes, for example if a child has not progressed to the next schema by the age of 2 we give the children opportunities to develop through the stages at their own rate by giving them support.
Sigmund Freud – Psychoanalytic theory
Freud believed that events and experiences we have in childhood are stored in our unconscious minds. He believed that these experiences are significant that they influence the way we feel as adults and that these feelings unconsciously direct our behaviour. Freud’s theory gave us the idea that childhood experiences are key factors in the development of personality, particularly if traumatic events occur in childhood.
In my practice we encourage the children to show and deal with their real emotions, with the help of books, emotional flash cards and posters. By helping the children gain an understanding of emotions by reflecting on something that may have happened to them. ‘did you feel happy when you went swimming last week’ ‘were you sad when you lost you toy’ etc we aim to help the children identify the feelings attached to the emotion. For example a child would be physically and verbally abusive towards staff if told to do something they did not want to do. When looking at the child’s background information shown said that they were exposed to physical and verbal abuse at a young age. These events that took place will not be understood by the child at the time and as years go by may be forgotten but left in the child’s unconscious memory. This may lead to later on in life facing the same situation and thinking that this behaviour is appropriate as it is what they have witnessed.
Abraham Maslow – Humanist theory
Maslow’s experiences showed that children needed certain needs in order to reach their full potential. These needs were:
Physiological – breathing, food, water, sex, sleep and erection
Safety – security, resources, family, health
Love/belonging – friendship, family
Esteem – self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others and respect by others
Self actualisation – creativity, morality, problem solving, lack of