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Unit 3 Early ChildhoodBoth Piaget and Vygotsky’s ideas have significantly impacted education and the field ofpsychology. The primary impact is the applicability of their ideas to the teaching–learningprocess. In regard to the development of scientific thinking, Piaget is frequently thought of as theprevailing theorist.Early childhood is a period of remarkable growth and development. Children go through physical and mental growth. “The brief span from young infancy to young childhood is marked by a momentous transformation of the cognitive system unparalleled by any other period of life (Broderick & Blewit, Pg.78).Professionals assess children and keep track of their developmental progress through several developmental theories. These theories revolve around particular milestones, which are benchmark points that allow professionals to measure a child’s cognitive development. When considering the founding contributions to childhood cognitive development, the Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, automatically comes to mind. According to Broderick & Blewitt, 2017, when infants and children are presented with new stimuli or pieces of information, what is learned or stored is not just a “true” reflection of what comes from the environment. Rather, children learn by a process of adaptation. First, they interpret new stimulation in ways that fit with what they already know, sometimes distorting it as a result. This aspect of adaptation is called assimilation. As the new information is assimilated, the child’s existing knowledge may bemodified somewhat, providing a better match or fit to what is new. The latter process is called accommodation. Assimilation and accommodation are complementary activities involved in every interaction with the environment. To accommodate (learn), children must be able to assimilate. Piaget's work demonstrated that children are much more active participants in the process than psychologists initially believed (Broderick & Blewitt, 2017).Piaget's theory of cognitive development involves four distinct developmental stages, each with its own milestones and certain strategies have been used to observe the cognitive development ofyoung children.
Habituation paradigm- this takes advantage of a baby’s tendency to orient to new stimulation and to habituate to repeated or old stimulation. Eg, if a baby is kept in a dark room and shown a green circle, he/she is likely to produce an orienting response to this new stimulus. She will look longer at the picture than she had at the blank screen. She will suck more vigorously on the pacifier in her mouth, and her blood pressure and her heart rate are likely to decrease from their previous base rate. If we repeatedly present the green circle, after a time the baby will seem to grow bored with the stimulus. Perhaps it now seems familiar, even “old.” We call this response habituation. If a new image is dishabituation response, that is, a renewed orienting response,