An Analytical Review Of Two Child Development Theories Essay

An Analytical Review Of Two Child Development Theories Essay

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An analytical review of two child development theories, comparing their contribution to play therapy
For this assignment I have chosen Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory and Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development theory.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was born in Neuchatel, Switzerland. His father modelled an ardent commitment to his studies, a characteristic that Piaget followed from an early age. Piaget was known to have described his mother as being inclined to regular neurotic outbursts.
Eric Erikson (1902-1994) was born in Frankfurt, Germany. He never knew his own father and was raised by his mother and stepfather. He struggled with his identity during youth as he never felt fully accepted by his stepfather. However he did adopt his surname.
These details from Piaget’s and Erikson’s lives, perhaps help to demonstrate how personal experiences shape us and may influence the path we take in life. Possibly their experiences contributed to the course their theories took from their fundamentally different starting points.
Jean Piaget put forward a theory of cognitive development perspective on children’s development. His theory stated that “children actively construct their understanding of the world and go through four stages of cognitive development”. Each stage being dependent on age and comprising of particular ways of thinking. Through observation of children he developed these four stages, believing that all children go through them consecutively during their lifetime.
• In the first stage, sensorimotor, the child starts to build an understanding of its world by synchronising sensory encounters with physical actions. They become capable of symbolic thought and start to achieve object permanence.
• In the second stage, pre...


... middle of paper ...


...ions through toys. Erikson (2000) recognised the social aspects innate in play, even when children play alone. Solitary play provides children a chance to cope with emotional anxiety from social interactions. “The fact that a child can be counted on to bring into the solitary play arranged for him whatever aspect of his ego has been ruffled the most, forms the fundamental condition for our diagnostic reliance on ‘play therapy’” (Erikson, 2000, p.112).
Piaget’s and Erikson’s theories provide a theoretical basis for the importance of play in children’s cognitive, affective and social development. Both of them recognised the symbolic nature of play and as such provided a foundation for play as a therapeutic intervention with children. “The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.” (Erikson, 2000)




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