Critically Review the Contribution and Influence of Psychological Theories to Early Childhood Education and Care Curriculum Development and Childcare Practitioner Working Practices

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Critically review the contribution and influence of psychological theories to early Childhood education and Care curriculum development and childcare practitioner working practices. Throughout this essay I am going to discuss the cognitive development theories of Piaget and Vygotsky. These two theorists were influential in forming a scientific approach to analysing the development process involved in cognition. Cognition is the procedure involved in thinking and mental activity, such as problem solving, memory and attention (Flanagan, 1999, p.72). Both theorists said that a child’s cognitive development took places in stages but the way in which these theorists described the way children go through these stages was completely different. Piaget was the first theorist to say that children go through stages. He believed that there are four stages of cognitive development, these stages are: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational (Malim and Birch, 2005, p.462). During the first stage, sensorimotor, which Piaget believed happened when the child was between the ages of birth and two years, this is when the child only accepts things that are given to them. They learn about objects and develop their motor skills, they also learn about what happens when they do certain things, for example, if a child is lying in a cot with a mobile over their head they will learn that if they hit the mobile it will move so they will do it again and again. While the child is at this stage they begin to learn that objects exist even when they are out of sight, this is called object permanence. Piaget’s next stage, preoperational stage, lasts from the time the child is two until they are seven years old. Children at this stage begin to have conversations and they learn to count. They also begin to have a concept of numbers. The preoperational stage is
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