Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980), was a Swiss psychologist who was the first to make a systematic study of cognitive development. Before Piaget’s work, the common assumption in psychology was that children were merely less capable thinkers than adults. After Piaget’s work it was realized that fact of the matter was that young children think extraordinarily different than adults (McLeod, S. A). According to Piaget’s study, we are born with a very basic mental structure (genetically inherited and evolved) on which all subsequent learning and knowledge is based. The theory explains the methods and procedures by which the infant, and then the child, develops into an individual (Boeree, G.). Piaget’s theory focuses more on development than learning, it doesn’t seem to address learning of information or specific behaviors. The theory seems suggest distinct stages of development, marked by qualitative variances, rather than a regular increase in number and complexity of behaviors, concepts, and ideas (Atherton J S).
Unlike Piaget 's belief that a child’s ' development must unavoidably go before their learning, Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) stated "Learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function...
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...and suckle the mothers breast; as it is babies seem to be biologically programmed to be able to find moms milk. Moving on as the baby gets older there are plenty of schemes that move forward, such as movement. What starts as moving limbs at random soon becomes reaching, which in turn becomes trying to crawl; it’s not as if a baby has someone to demonstrate crawling but nonetheless they reach that point where they can.
In conclusion I believe both theories can be applied to understanding the growth of children and our everyday development, but not necessarily alone. Both Vygotsky and Piaget were brilliant minds with theories that significantly moved the psychological field of study forward. However, I feel more strongly that Piaget’s theory that has to do with adaptation of already available schemes of an individual is superiorly applied to how I see children develop.
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