Jean Piaget made great contribution to child psychology and development of the new approaches and concepts in this sphere. The benefit of Piaget’s theory is that young children are far more able than the theorist gave them credit for. Though, it seems that there is also a hazard of overestimating the abilities of young children, and that perhaps they lack the requisite mental flexibility or possibly the logic for solving certain problems, such as conservation. Even in the satiation of conservation, although, it seems a child younger than Piaget had supposed is able to give the correct judgment if the dilemma is presented in the right way. Collectively, then, studies investigating Piaget’s theories have served to shape the distinction between preoperational and concrete operational thinking (Berk, 2008). So although researchers can argue that young children can have difficulty with the logic of certain problems, it now looks doubtful that these errors all fit together neatly to suggest an overarching multipart of thought process we could call preoperational intellect as described by Piaget.
Jean Piaget was born in Switzerland in 1896, and died in 1980. Piaget’s early curiosity was in biology and his first publication, which was on that very subject, appeared when he was 10 years old. A few years later he was invited to be guardian of hellfish at a natural history museum in Geneva. This was a propose he had to decline, since he was still attending secondary school only. At age of 21 yeas old, Piaget was awarded a doctoral degree for a paper he wrote about hellfish. It was at this point that the great psychologist switched his interest to cognitive development, when he began working on the thought that a crucial ingredient in the relationship between people and their environment is intelligence. In order to acquire insight into this intelligence, Piaget concentrated on the most intelligent animals of all: human beings. The theorist believed that insight into the natural world of intelligence could best be gained by studying its development. Therefore Piaget became a cognitive developmentalist. At the time of his death, the theorist had written over 40 books on cognitive development, and over a100 articles on the same subject. This was in addition to many other publications on hellfish, philosophy and education. The theorist also tried his hand at science fiction: during the emotional turmoil of his adolescence, he expressed some of his emotions in a novel which was publihed in 1917 (Baldwin, 2000).
in general, Piaget suggested children pass through a series of stages on the way to cognitive adulthood (Baldwin, 2000). His idea was that cognitive development is not a permanent process, dependent upon the accumulation of more and more information and knowledge; his observation was that cognitive development proceeds not by slow evolution, but by way of cognitive revolution. As the child shifts onto a new and more sophisticated stage of intelligence, he heds many of the old cognitive limitations at a single sweep. Modern researchers look at what, according to Piaget, it is that enables children to grow through the stages (i.e. the mechanism of development) (Baldwin 2000).
Piaget states that age ranges for the stages, but these were only intended as a rough guide. The more important issues is that the order of the stages is supposed to be fixed and invariant. Piaget’s opinion was that each stage served as the foundation for the later stage, so according to the theory, it would be impossible to miss any stage. To Piaget, missing a stage would be similar to building the second storey of a dwelling without first building the first floor. For Piaget, addition is essential for carrying tens and also for subtotals in order to calculate the grand total. In this case, addition is a precondition for long multiplication. According to Piaget’s theory, succeeding through one stage is a precondition for shifting onto the subsequent stage. Though, if one enjoyed the benefit of suitable experiences, it might be possible to evolve through the stages more rapidly than one who was less fortunate (Baldwin 2000).
The first stage is a progress from childhood or infancy. The stage gets its meaning from the notion that the child has sensory experiences (can see, hear, feel, taste, smell) and can be in motion (motor movements), but there is little cognition mediating the two actions. For instance, Piaget’s opinion was that the child has no conception of the permanent world which has an existence separately of the child. The researcher had a great many things to say about this stage, but modem scientists focus on his ideas about the development of the thought of object permanence (Berk, 2008). Piaget claimed that at birth people are in a state of solipsism. In other words, Piaget was making the amazing claim that babies cannot distinguish between self and not self.
As a result, childs have no understanding of the permanent existence of things (i.e. objects) other than the self. Though, after having passed through a series of sub-stages by the age of 24 months the child will differentiate between himself and surroundings, will be capable of mental imagery and will have an understanding of symbols. In all, Piaget listed 6 sub-stages of infancy. The first relevant one is Stage 3, which lasts from 4 to 8 months of age. At this age, the child is perfectly capable of grasping and picking up things such as a rattle (Baldwin, 2000). Given this ability, parents can play a game with the child, in which they take his rattle and put it in various places, just within the child’s reach. Providing the rattle is within reach (many children of this age cannot crawl yet), the child might enter into the game and retrieve it. Though, if we put the rattle within reach but right away cover it with a cloth, even though the covered object is in full view, the child will not reach out. Instead he will switch attention to something else (Berk, 2008).
Piaget claimed that the child does have the deftness to remove the cloth, then grab the rattle. Piaget claimed, so that the child’s breakdown to get back the rattle from under the cloth was not due to a lack of skill. Instead, The researcher suggested that when an item is hidden from view, the child no longer conceives of its existence. At this stage, when the child can no longer directly sense an object, the object no longer exists as far as the child is concerned. If parents remove the cloth, the child will then recognize the rattle and grasp it. So the child can recognize objects he is familiar with, but when objects are no longer accessible to the mind, they no longer have any existence for the child. According to Piaget, this is because the child is unable to conjure up an image of the object in its physical absence. Oneimplication of this radical claim is that although the child recognizes and is familiar with her mother, when the mother leaves the room, from that moment to the parents’ return, the child no longer has any notion of the adult. To the young child, the mother is just an image which goes through a curious sequence of appearing and disappearing (Berk, 2008).
During Stage 4 of infancy (8 to 12 months), the child’s concept of object permanence develops to the point that the child appears to possess a primitive notion that objects may exist even if they cannot be sensed directly. At this development stage, the child will have no difficulty in retrieving a rattle hidden beneath a cloth. On the face of it, some researchers may think that if the child searches for something hidden from view, this must mean that the child knows about that hidden thing even when it cannot be seen. Though, Piaget would have others believe that the child is still dominated by what he senses, and in particular, at this stage of development, his actions (i.e. motor movements). An older child, in contrast, relies much more on mental imagery. According to Piaget, once the child has retrieved the rattle from under the cloth, he then understands the life of the rattle, in terms of her action in retrieving it (Baldwin 2000). Piaget demonstrated this with a simple test, known as the A-B task.
Piaget spread out two cloths side by side in front of the child. He then hid the rattle under the left cloth (cloth A), and, as expected, the child pulled away the cloth and grabbed the rattle. Piaget repeated this a further two times. Then, on the fourth trial, in full view of the child, Piaget put the rattle under the right-hand cloth (cloth B). The child searched under the left cloth, as before, and on failing to find the rattle there, ceased searching and switched attention to something else. What makes this finding particularly abnormal is that the shape of the rattle remains apparent under the right-hand cloth throughout. In Stage 4, according to the psychologist, once the child has brought about the reappearance of the object by the act of searching, he then understands the reappearance of the object in terms of the specific actions involved in the investigation. In other words, the child has little notion of the existence of the object independent of his own actions. To the child, the existence of the object means a sequence of hand and arm movements (Berk, 2008).
Current trends and findings involve Mooney (2000) research on childhood and Campbell and Bickhard (2003). Following Piaget’s theory, these researchers state that the child no longer understands the object just in terms of his own actions. Though, Piaget underlines that children still have difficulty understanding the existence of objects they cannot directly experience, since they apparently have no notion of the movement of an unseen object. To demonstrate this, the researcher put the rattle under the left-hand cloth, and then, before the child was given an opportunity to search, Piaget also put an up-side-down bowl under that cloth, covering the rattle with the bowl as he did so (Berk, 2008). The researcher then pulled the bowl from under the cloth, with the rattle hidden inside, and moved it under the right-hand cloth. He then removed the bowl, and placed it in full view, where it could be seen to be empty, having deposited the rattle under the right-hand cloth. The child, who had been watching all this, was then allowed to begin searching. The child searched under the left-hand cloth, where the rattle wasput to begin with, but on failing to find it there, ceased searching and switched thought to something else (Baldwin 2000).
During Stage 5, the child is no longer dominated by her own actions in understanding the existence of objects. Though, it seems the child continues to have great difficulty in understanding objects which are not sensed in a straight line, since he seems unable to comprehend the possibility of movement of the object when it is hidden from view. Older children presumably understand that if the rattle was not under the left-hand cloth, it must have traveled with the bowl to the right-hand cloth. This is an understanding which seems to be beyond a child aged between 12 and 18 months. The cause, according to Piaget, is because the child has difficulty in imagining the object to have its own autonomous existence; the child struggles to understand that the object is not directly experienced, it is possible for things to go on happening to it, such as moving from one place to another (Campbell and Bickhard 2003).
At this stage, the child at last is able to imagine of the existence of an object independently of the self, and consequently is no longer in a state of solipsism. The child now understands that on the one hand there is the outside world, and on the other hand, distinct from that, is the self. The child achieves this, according to the researcher, by acquiring the facility of mental imagery. The child is able to generate a mental picture of things, and what might happen to those things, even though these events cannot be experienced in a straight line. As a result, the child no longer has difficulty locating an object which is hidden and then shifted, providing it is easy to work out where it was moved to. That is, the child no longer has any complexity with the task he failed during Stage 5 of childhood.
The achievement of mental imagery is a revolutionary point in the child’s life, which heralds the change to a whole new stage of development in the broadest meaning. It is at this point that the child is viewed as succeeding from the sensori-motor stage of childhood to the preoperational stage of early childhood. The critics admit that the most important consequence of psychological imagery is that it makes possible the use of symbols. A mental image need not be a mental replica of the thing it is concerned with. If the image is about something in the world, but is not a mental replica of that thing, then it is a symbol of that thing. According to Piaget, it is no coincidence that at the end of infancy the child begins to develop proficiency in that most powerful of human symbols, language (Campbell and Bickhard 2003). The rational achievements which become possible with the aid of language in its various forms are literally unimaginable. For instance, consider some of the remarkable progress in technology and science this century (Berk, 2008).
Most of the facts mentioned above would have been impossible without mathematics and written language to work out and communicate the ideas responsible for this progress. A significant aspect of Piaget’s thinking becomes clear at this point. The psychologist stressed that intellectual growth underpins language development in important ways, not the other way round; a capacity for mental imagery permits proficiency in use of symbols, one form of which happens to be language. It hardly needs to be stated that language enables more efficient problem solving (Berk, 2008). Though, symbolic activity other than the use of a recognizable language may also facilitate problem solving (Brearley and Hitchfield 2002).
In order to illustrate some cases, Piaget tells of how his own child, who was nearing the end of childhood, solved the problem of how to retrieve a chain hidden inside a matchbox. When given the matchbox, the child made a awkward attempt to open the box but failed. He then paused, opened and closed her mouth a few times whilst gazing at the matchbox, and then smoothly opened the box to retrieve the chain. According to the psychologist, his child registered the way in which the matchbox opened symbolically in her mouth movement. After working out the problem in this way, he was able to proceed and open the box with no difficulty (Singer and Revenson 2003). This example shows that Piaget supposed it is not the case that language makes possible symbolic problem-solving activity (Baldwin, 2000).
The kid can solve problems symbolically without language. Though, no doubt Piaget would accept that, given the possible for symbolic activity, language then becomes a useful tool for this purpose. Symbolic activity is most evident in young children’s pretend play. Here researchers find children pretending that bananas are telephones, that chairs are cars, that shoe boxes are television sets, and so on. Watching young children engage in pretend play gives the impression that they are exercising their newly acquired symbolic ability purely for the delight of it. There is reason to suppose that the symbolic element of pretend play is not just a manifestation of having reached a developmental milestone. Some critics argue persuasively that pretend play actually promotes cognitive development in various ways (Brearley and Hitchfield 2002).
Current trends and theories suggest that the young child is overwhelmed with egocentrism. This term might seem a little confusing, because the psychologist did not use the term according to its direct meaning. In ordinary jargon, researchers call someone ‘egocentric’ to mean that they are selfish and inconsiderate of others (Singer and Revenson 2003). Modern psychological application of the word, in contrast, means a cognitive limitation which prevents the child from seeing things from somebody else’s point of view. It is not really suitable to say the young child is inconsiderate, since it is claimed that the young child is incapable of understanding that another person might have a viewpoint different from her own. In this case, ‘different viewpoint’ is used both in a literal sense, as in failing to understand that objects look different from different perspectives, and in a conceptual sense, as in failing to understand that people may hold opinions, beliefs, etc. different from her own. Intimately linked with egocentrism is a profound inability to understand and relate principles to the world. The young child’s grasp of things is intuitive and highly subjective, rather than logical and objective. Consequently, the child’s thinking is dominated by surface form, rather than by underlying principles. The best way to illustrate this is with examples of tests which a preoperational child fails (Piaget, 2000).
Today, the best known proof of breakdown to understand and apply these theories during the preoperational stage is in the breakdown to conserve. In this sense, ‘conservation’ has nothing to do with green politics, but rather is to do with the understanding that transformation of appearance need not result in alteration of the underlying reality. The underlying reality remains steady, and therefore is conserved, despite the transformation in appearance. It seems that, instead of attending to a principle (i.e. operation), such as ‘none was added or taken away, so the amount of water must be the same’, young children were seduced by, and centered on, the increased height of the water level in the thin glass. The child gives an intuitive answer instead of working out the correct answer on the basis of an underlying principle. That is, the child fails to ‘decentre’.
Young children also show a breakdown to conserve on a variety of other tasks, some of which we will now take a look at. In the conservation of length task, we show the child two pencils of the same length, and begin by aligning the points so that equality of length becomes apparent. After the child agrees they are the same length, we move one of the pencils slightly, so that its point protrudes above that of the other by about a centimeter. Preoperational children will judge they are no longer the same size, and point to one of the pencils, claiming it is bigger. In the conservation of mass task, we make two balls of plasticize the same size, and, after the child agrees that they are the same size, we roll one into a sausage shape. Preoperational children usually judge that the sausage shape is bigger and has more plasticize in it. In the conservation of number task, we spread out two rows of, for example, ten counters, in one-to-one correspondence (Brearley and Hitchfield 2002).
Piaget stated that there were many errors young children make which he claimed are signs of preoperational, non-principled, non-logical thinking. We shall consider just two more of these. First is the difficulty young children have with class inclusion. We spread out, for example, seven Lego bricks, five red and two blue. In this example, the overall class of bricks includes the subclasses of red bricks and blue bricks. The child knows that all seven items are in the class of bricks, because if we ask how many bricks there are, they have no difficulty in answering with ‘seven’. We then ask, ‘Are there more bricks or more red bricks?’ Preoperational kids answer with, ‘More red bricks.’ According to Piaget, the young baby concentrates on the greater number of red bricks compared with blue bricks, and as a result fails to operate on the principle that the class of bricks must be bigger than the subclass of red bricks, because the class of bricks includes both red and blue bricks. Finally, we come to transitive inference (Mooney, 2000).
Piaget presented a task which involves the same problem in principle, but which to adults and older children seems absurdly simple. Reseacgers show the child two towers made of lego, one a little taller than the other. Just by looking, it is impossible to tell which is the taller, for two reasons. First, the towers are in different parts of the room, so they can’t both be taken in at a glance. Second, they are on different levels, for example, one on a coffee table and one on the floor. The comparison reveals that one tower is bigger than the stick, whilst the other is smaller. Preoperational kids are very poor at this task. They seem to have no idea what to do with the stick, and even if we do the measuring for them, they do not reliably give the correct answer, that the tower taller than the stick is bigger than the tower shorter than the stick (Mooney, 2000).
Following Piaget, this is yet another case of young children failing to operate on a principle, which, in this case, would be ‘if this tower is bigger than the stick, and that tower is shorter than the stick, then this tower must be bigger than that tower’. It is very unusual indeed to find a young child who does not make the errors described in these pages, though some people, as you will discover later, disagree with Piaget’s interpretation of the findings. The tests are very simple to carry out, and you can demonstrate the errors very easily by performing them on young children in your family. It is especially interesting to introduce modifications to the procedure of the tests to see if it helps children to get the correct answer (Ginsburg and Opper 2000).
A traditional example of egocentrism can be found in the ‘three mountains task’. Researchers sit the child in front of a model landscape of three mountains located side by side. During this stage, but not during the concrete operational stage, the child is able to solve the transitive inference problem on a purely mental level; no real items need be involved. The adolescent can work out that if x is bigger than y and x is smaller than z, then the smallest altogether must be y. These characters need have no value in the real world for the adolescent to find the correct solution. In solving the problem, the adolescent can mentally manipulate the symbols in a way that is purely formal and logical. Piaget suggested that the ideal is when assimilation and accommodation contribute equally. If either dominates, then there may be a problem. An example of over-assimilation is pretence. In this case the child displays little adaptation to the world, but instead interprets the world in her own highly idiosyncratic way (Flavell 2002).
According to Piaget, people are intrinsically motivated to exercise our schemes, particularly when the schemes are newly acquired, and this process is not dependent on external reward (Phillips, 2003). Consequently, there is plenty of opportunity for assimilation and accommodation to occur, and therefore plenty of opportunity for schemes to develop. In other words, there is plenty of chance for the growth of intelligence, given the way in which growth supposedly takes place. As the scheme’s breadth of application increases, so the separation in each mode of application increases (Berk, 2008). There comes a point when the modes of application of a method are so diverse that it is no longer a single scheme but rather a series of schemes within a certain genre. For instance, the system for holding a paintbrush is in some respects quite different from the systems for holding the steering wheel of a car, yet both are descendants of the innate grasping scheme (Flavell 2002). Systems and structures may also be coordinated, or brought together, into a giant scheme to perform complicated actions. Researchers admit that driving a car is a useful case of this: steering, gears, brake, clutch and accelerator, just to gve name some of the individual schemes comprising the overall system of ‘driving’ (Ginsburg and Opper 2000).
In sum, the theories and principles developed by Piaget became a core of child psychology and development science. At this point things may seem reasonably simple, that schemes develop, and this is influenced in a significant way by assimilation and accommodation. Piaget supposes that underlying each stage is a new category of scheme. In the sensori-motor stage, the only signs are motor schemes as in throwing rattles, crawling and so on. In the preoperational phase, the child has schemes which are not just motor, but may involve mental imagery also. At the concrete operational phase, signs may proceed through a series of mental actions perhaps in the way a computer runs a program, to arrive at the solution to a problem in a principled and logical way. In the formal operational phase, the same maintains, except the problem need have no physical reality. The non-conserving child entertains the belief that tallness and quantity are intimately linked, so he will think that a tall column of liquid contains more than a short one. That seems like a perfectly reasonable belief to hold, and no doubt most adults think in a similar way.
Baldwin, A. L. (2000). Behavior and Development in Childhood. New York: Dryden Press.
Brearley, Molly, and Elizabeth Hitchfield. A (2002). Guide to Reading Piaget. New York: Schocken Books.
Berk, L. E. (2008). Child Development 8th edition.
Campbell, R.L. and Bickhard, M.H. (2003) Knowing levels and developmental stages, Basel: Karger.
Ginsburg, Herbert, and Sylvia Opper. (2000). Piaget’s Intellectual Development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Flavell John H. (2002). The Developmental Psychology of Jean : Piaget, Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc.
Mooney, C.G. (2000). Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky. Redleaf Press.
Phillips, John L., Jr. (2003). The Origins of Intellect: Piaget’s Theory. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Company.
Piaget, J. (2000). The Psychology Of The Child. Basic Books; 2 edition.
Singer, D.J., Revenson, T.A. (2003). A Piaget Primer: How a Child Thinks; Revised EditionPlume; Rev Sub edition.
Children Play And Wellbeing
Play is the term used to define the wide range of activities that people and particularly children engage themselves in for purposes of amusement and enjoyment. The players usually get involved in the activities willingly. Moreover, in the case of children, the motivation to play is due to their curiosity to link their world of imagination and reality. Therefore, play may involve interpersonal or intrapersonal interactions or both and the players may pretend by assuming some roles in the ongoing activity while relating their ideas with and the actual process.
This is a term used to define a positive and balanced state of the mind, the heart, and other body organs in their metabolism and reaction to changes in the immediate environment. Well-being refers to the physiological and mental fitness of a person due to the proper relationship between the individual and his/her social and physical environment. In order to maintain a good intrapersonal balance, wellbeing relates to playing or other times called exercise so that the child feels part of his or her society.
Well-being and play are related in the sense that, well-being is the balanced state of bodily functioning as well as the extended scope of thinking and imagination, playing is the medium upon which these fantasies are perceived.
Types and functions of play
There are various types of plays aimed at fostering learning in society. The functions of the plays may be intentional or non-intentional. The common types of play include role-play, pretend play, games and toying. In all these types of play, objects symbolize the meaning of certain things that are understood by the mind while in reality may be out of reach at the moment. In a broader sense, the play explores the mind-body interactions of the child. The ability of the child to coordinate his action in accordance with his or her understanding of language forms the basis of all play. Therefore, as children play, the brain is involved in determining appropriate actions as their body movement is in response to the messages relayed from the brain to the rest of their body. This essay examines the various avenues through which play enhances the wellbeing of children and associated limiting factors.
The two main contemporary issues about play and wellbeing discussed in this essay are obesity and the children’s plan. Obesity issues relate to playing while children’s play is associated with wellbeing. Due to the complexity of play, its primary function remains to facilitate the cognitive development of the child’s natural and acquired abilities.
Social interactionists theories
Social interactionist theories emphasize the environment and the context in which language is learned as the main influencing factors in language acquisition. It derives from the concept that pragmatics of language should be mastered first before grammar. In these theories, the child and other members of the society who have already mastered the language exist in a relationship where there is provision for feedback from either side. This approach to early childhood language acquisition and development is the main reason that makes it important to teachers and parents. Therefore, interactionist theories are applicable both in school and at home environments. This theory maintains that language is not part of a person’s intrinsic ability. According to Piaget, language development is because of a balanced exchange between the child and the environment. Since vocabulary defines language within the context of culture, speech becomes necessary as long as it occurs within this boundary (Bruce 2001).
Historical and cultural perspectives on play and the link to wellbeing
Since the evolution of modern-day man, people across society have been involved in one type of play or another. Some played for fun; others played various kinds of games as a way of carrying out societal or community values. The main purpose of the play focuses on the lives of children. It has been interesting to note how the transformations in the children as they grow up influence their daily lives. The play developed, as a result of people’s desire to compete together in a free environment where the natural condition seems not to intervene in the activities. As children played together, they developed a sense of belonging to society and one another. Most of the play has been inclusive, therefore; it tends to eliminate the effects of discrimination. Consequently, it contributed to the enhanced social wellbeing of the children mainly because it makes them secured and loved by adults. Children equally found comfort in expressing themselves behind the mask of different roles they acted as they played together (Wood & Attfield 2005).
Theories of play
Play behavior and playground culture
Lev Vygotsky’s theory of play or children’s games takes a psychological perspective. He postulated that as the child plays, they acquire an abstract meaning of the world around them that sets them unique from other creatures in the world. He emphasized that this development is critically important in the future mental functioning of the child. The desire for a child to take on the extremely challenging task at age seven manifests in his or her imagination mimicked in a play. Play is due to some action out of consciousness resulting from the human ability to perceive things illusionary. Therefore, in this context, the playground culture involves the use of objects to represent the “ideal world” in the child’s imagination (Davey 2001).
The patterns of play development follow a sequence of thoughts in the child’s mind that generate ideas. As the child thinks, he gets ideas and begins to carry them out unconsciously. This development generates excitement in the child as he stumbles upon new findings. Like a scientist experimenting, he works with objects without necessarily knowing their meanings. Through play, the children learn to appreciate themselves when they can successfully link their thoughts with reality. In essence, play inculcates in them, the values associated with self-esteem and confidence especially when they demonstrate to the world around them that they can equally understand and take part in its activities. In the final analysis, the child’s image shown by their potential to contribute to real-life events, albeit in negligible proportion through play and games, enhances their wellbeing (Opie & Opie 1959).
The progress generated from playing with objects that symbolize characters in their creation records in their brains. This is probably the most interesting aspect of play that makes it much significant in their childhood and adult life. The ongoing debate on obesity predominantly indicates that, due to the excess weight of obese children, their ability to properly exude deep sitting thoughts of their illusionary world is critically impaired. However best they would wish to display their skills, amongst their peers or in the presence of adults, play behaviors and playground culture fails to recognize their orchestrations because of their physical discomfort that often predisposes them to partiality. The classical example, the child wants to ride a horse. The principle of human action shows that play begins with concrete ideas, not the objects that the child plays with. It is generally difficult for children to comprehend ideas from the objects at tender ages (ages 5, 6 up to 11). Therefore, play fills in the gap of abstract meanings in their minds.
The linkage between play and wellbeing based on Vygotsky’s theory for school-going children falls in a number of ways. For example, as the children play they mimic the actions of different members of their society.
In the process, they develop certain rules that are important in their social relations with the rest of the members of the family. The children may not know what the rules are in the actual sense, but through plays, they end up reinforcing existing values through the “pivots” involved. Through self-regulation acquired from continued play. The child’s spirit of competition is developed and their urge to outdo each other contribute to their well-being when for example the joy of winning downs on them out of fair play. In the case of an obese child, this may not however be the case. Their body weight is already a limiting factor play that involves first movements. Consequently, it only leads to the discriminatory role of the child during playing.
Margret Donaldson’s theory of play explores children’s minds. After her interaction with Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner, she conducted her own studies in which she concluded that children make mistakes because of two reasons; because they are responding to the instructions they are given and because they are struggling to understand the meaning of their assignments. Quite often, children wonder how the rules in their societies operate. Therefore, they intentionally resort to experimenting through play. Donaldson’s hypothesis suggests that children’s play is comparable to modeling in its simplest form; out of children’s ideas, they organize simple objects to represent their ideas against reality. Play then takes on the pattern of children manipulating these objects and drawing incoherent observations from the process. As this continues, play develops progressively from those involving simple and few objects to complex play that involves many objects operated to generate comprehensible meanings of the abstract world. This is what she refers to as the human sense (Davey 2001)
Due to the trial and error method used in most of these plays and games, children are bound to make mistakes. However, the constructive nature of play allows them to develop their cognitive skills because learning and language are innate to a very large extend. It, therefore, becomes increasingly important for the children to learn from the playground culture since the behaviors acquired from the process compound on their knowledge of societal values and rules. In essence, the knowledge acquired remains permanently in their brain. This is also critically important in their continued understanding of normal education and general life functioning because they would easily understand basic arithmetic and learn how to carry out simple tasks in their environment. Under normal circumstances, an obese child would find it rather cumbersome to jargon between roles were carrying objects to and forth occur more frequently (Brown 2003).
As she focuses on the “concept of embedded and disembodied thinking’, it would logically follow that such play behavior acts negatively to the perception of obese children. This is primarily because; they may understand the appropriate action but its implementation model defined in the play limits his or her full participation. In the end, the child suffers psychological problems characterized by self-blame leading to withdrawal. If a child does not play with his peers, then the playground culture hampers the social well-being of this child. The child who withdraws from playing with their peer will not be happy he or she may not have well developed brain-based ability to act efficiently through his or her requirements. Therefore, thinking based on simple things makes tasks easy for the children to understand.
Piaget’s theory appears to be contrary to most behaviorists in its claims. It suggests that language and a number of other cognitive skills are learned since they are not necessarily innate in children. Piaget’s ideas derive from the Darwinian Theory of evolution. The theory sought to explain why human cognition developed as opposed to other lower animals. Biologists generally believe that not all knowledge comes from experience. According to this theory, the patterns of development in play score more important than the results accruing thereof. Children’s language skills and mental reasoning which are the guiding steps in play are requisites for the child’s development, especially in the early years. It complements most interactionist theories in the view that the processes are more important than structure since their proponents reveal play as a series of actions emanating from mental processes expressed physically and emotionally (Broadhead 2004).
The series of actions follow in stages, at each stage, the movement from an object to a symbol marks the shift from concrete thought to abstract actions. The progress through these stages indicates the development of the child’s physical and mental abilities. The underlying concept is that at each stage of development, there is internal pressure that motivates the child to move to the next stage of development. Only up to a point when the child’s behavior becomes tolerable to his or her environment does the pressure gets to a balance. In attempts to understand and develop the play, the use of schemas in teaching children becomes important because mental schemas vary from stage to stage reflecting on the child’s development. An important aspect of play on obese children, in this respect, lies in their cognitive abilities to follow the schemas. Jean Piaget used four key stages in the process of children’s language acquisition, thus sensorimotor (18-24 months), pre-operational stage (18-24 months to 7 years), concrete operations (7-12 years), and formal operations (12 years and above). Children’s action focuses on wellbeing.
Pretend play contributes to children’s cognitive development. In the early years of children’s development, high-quality play is important in their social and academic progress. Based on these observations, Henry Jenkins developed the theory of pretend play by hypothesizing that there exists a strong relationship between symbolization and abstract meaning of things. Children tend to use objects while playing and animate those with various kinds of roles, in some cases, dolls represent babies, and teddy bears may even represent a feared animal and boxes used as cars. The detail of the objects and the roles they serve while playing capture the mind attention of the children in relation to the real objects (Tones& Green 2004).
How the children formulate ideas that make the objects fit perfectly in the context of play forms an interesting pattern of play. The fact that these symbolizations reflect their understanding of real-world happenings, logically follow in their physiological development. Therefore, a correlation exists between children’s pretend play and their performance on mentally involving tasks. Pretend to play and role-play draws on the children’s performance on “theory-of-the-mind tasks”. It is the most suitable approach developed by Jenkins to understanding and developing outdoor play. Some of the cognitive skills developed during role-play involving the use of language include problem-solving, team planning, negotiation and goal setting (Simnett 2003).
Since pretend play involves emotion, cognition, and language among other actions touching on various lives of the children. It demands a lot of attention from the child because the decision to use an object for any given purpose does not rest on a fixed way of thinking. Issues concerning obese children with respect to TOM tasks claim that such children may be reluctant to participate fully in the play because they may not be fast enough in completing their tasks. TOM task sometimes involve brainstorming actions that require prompt responses in speech and actions, since they are also designed to cause excitement for children, the physiological wellbeing of hyperactive children is reinforced while those who fail to adjust to the challenging conditions is minimized in the children’s plans (Bilton 2002).
Freud’s psychoanalytical theory involves the use of symbols. In this approach to children’s play, there is a clear representation of objects as they occur in the child’s environment. A strong correlation exists between the signifier and the signified so that the symbols used during playing highly motivates the relationship of resemblance. Freud’s theory stresses the importance of childhood play and its associated experiences in four main development stages, thus oral, anal, and phallic and latency stage. In all these psychosexual stages, the child gratifies his or her libidinal desires. This aspect of play behavior shows the changing patterns in play development from one stage to the other while distinctively pointing out the physiological expressions of the child. At one stage, the child may be involved in play and games that focus on eating and chewing objects and at some other stage plays that focus on the family environment. All these are expressions of their natural desires for parental love and need for some special attachment with the real society around them as shown by the objects used in the play.
Therefore, play in this case improves both social and physical aspects of children, including those suffering from obesity. Most of these stages manifest in playing outside, the games may include children carrying one another, rolling, and even falling in groups, most of the children may fear pairing with the obese counterparts, lest they get tired of carrying them because they fear their weight. The children must play these games because the children’s plan requires that every child get adequate attention in service provision and work. Through interactive play negotiations, the teacher may opt to inspire the children in the class and outside class to balance various discriminatory activities during playing. This would result in equal participation of all the children in the play thereby promoting their social and physical wellbeing. In the end, the children grow with rounded psychosexual aspects well developed in their adult life (Forbes 2004).
Brian Sutton-Smith’s theory of play identifies the roles of play in human life. When play is organized and intended for some specific purpose, then it is termed as a game. In their struggle for survival, children engage in play in order to express control over their world constructs. Children may not be genuine in their play after all. It is conscious and intended to inform their actions by some logical reasoning accepted by society. Quite often, children tend to compete with each other at performing similar tasks albeit in different ways. In the process, they display their knowledge and skills. Play becomes an important part of children’s lives because the objects that act as a medium between their inner being and the real world actually communicate their ideas. It proceeds to influence their language development and thus their interaction with other members of society. a child’s happiness and satisfaction result from creating an object or set of an object with as many features as he or she can imagine should be in the play. Perfect symbolization leads to their improved wellbeing especially if it cuts across all the participants. Conversely, the obese child may struggle with numerous challenges while moving here and there, to and forth in attempts to organize his or her objects (Moyles 2005).
Social interaction theories
Roberts presents important theories toward the explanations of current issues about play and wellbeing. She proposes that play is an education tool that helps to improve the child’s happiness and therefore performance in academics. This social interactionist approach to learning defines that happiness is symbolized by a free playing environment where children explore their fantasies in the realm of reality opens their minds. In such a state, children learn from their peers out of curiosity. Since they see certain things in their environment, classroom, or home, they tend to imitate their functioning from friends and their knowledge. Obese children, just like the others take roles in pretend play that animate objects with their ability, other children in the class equally assume roles reflecting their strengths and weaknesses. However, most obese children may be forced to limit their roles in role-play to fit in the design because of their weight and size. The difference only occurs in symbolization plays where object animations create the actual impression of imagined situations. By and large, it becomes a daunting task for teachers under the Children’s plan to maintain fairness throughout playing periods. Children may act unconsciously by using approaches that alienate overweight children thereby influencing negatively their well-being (Baird 2005)
The expert of the mantle thematic teaching theory
The expert of the mantle thematic teaching theory makes the child assumes the role of the teacher, thus giving the children the position of the expert in a particular area of human knowledge. In this example, children are “classical” geographers who guide visitors as they travel through the nation with intention of seeing the queen. The teacher assumes the role of the queen’s chief soldier. The teacher’s attention is on how every child acts his or her role, be they guards of the visiting hero or lieutenants. This scenario allows the children to explore the understanding of sequence and relevance because it involves suggestions of direction, use of schematic pictures representing the queen’s palace.
Baird, A. J., & Astingsion, J. W., 2005, Why language matters for theory of the mind. New York, Oxford University Press.
Bilton, H., 2002, Outdoor play in the early years: Management and innovation: London.
Broadhead, P., 2004, Early years play and learning, Developing Social Skills.
Brown, F., 2003, Play work: theory and practice, Buckingham: Oxford University Press.
Bruce, T., 2001, Learning through play. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Bruce, T., 2004, Developing learning in Early Childhood. London: Sage competence, London: Routledge.
Davey, B., 2001, Birth to old age: health in transition: Buckingham: Oxford University David Fulton.
Forbes, R., 2004, Beginning to play, young children from birth to three, Berkshire: London: Sage.
Moyles J., 2005, The Excellence of Play (2 Edition). Maidenhead: Milton Keynes Open.
Opie. L., & Opie,P.,1959, The Lore and Language of School Children. Oxford: Oxford.
Scarlett, G.W, Nandeau, S, Salonious, P, &.& Ponte., 2005 Children’s Play. London.
Simnett, l., 2003, Promoting health: A practical Guide. London: Balliere Tindall.
Tones.K, & Green, J., 2004, Health promotion: Planning and Strategies. London: Sage.
Wood. E. & Attfield, J., 2005, Play, Learning and the Early Childhood Curriculum.
General Philosophical Concept: Empiricism, Rationalism, And Skepticism
Many views are a part of philosophy, while philosophy as a whole has not and perhaps never will merge its branches and theories into one way of thinking that is the best way to approach knowledge and life. Three major ways of thinking in this area are empiricism, rationalism, and scepticism. Ultimately it seems that the best way to approach knowledge is to be open to using any view depending on the circumstances, however in this case one must still determine the conditions which any particular view best applies to.
Another possibility is to blend specific parts of each views, however even here one must assume that certain parts are best generally or in specific cases, and in any case any attempt to pick a best approach is subject to debate, objectivity, and circumstance. This paper proposes that there is no best choice currently and our only way to get closer to a commonly accepted method of thinking is to continue to allow our thoughts to evolve and progress towards higher thinking.
Empiricists believe that for any information that can be considered knowledge to be properly analyzed and accepted, it should be integrated into and developed from one’s own personal experience through that which one perceives the world. Namely this refers to experience through the senses in order to adequately process any information before considering it to be knowledge. Rationalizing outside of the senses is thus not a viable approach to real knowledge with this philosophy (Rauhut p. 63).
Rationalism associates reason with the correct path to assimilation and gaining information or wisdom. Rationalists believe the senses are not the path to truth while the processes of thinking, deducing, and reasoning are. This philosophy is easily contrasted both with empiricism and skepticism as empiricism demands the processing of information with the senses, and while skepticism is a sort of deduction but one which involves elimination and pessimism rather than general objectivity and reason.
Though most strongly contrasted with empiricism, these are not entirely different views while it is possible to hold both views. For example, one can make deductions and reason based on their own experiences. Basically, however, rationalism is not as plausible, at least initially, as empiricism (Rauhut p. 73).
Skepticism is a more interrogative approach that casts immediate doubt on the proposed reasoning and always assumes there is more to be learned than that which has already been revealed. Skeptics also consider the strong possibility for deception and misleading information while naturally seeking the true information in these and all cases.
Skepticism is also concerned with the boundaries of human knowledge or the existence of information in general, while it is also slow to form decisions and is even patient in doing so when there is a clear lack of data. One of the most important parts of philosophy with regards to skepticism is to first consider the conditions where skepticism is the best viewpoint to assume (Rauhut p. 13). For those that call themselves skeptics, of course, this is not a decision that is to be made.
Ultimately, there is no best answer. Each view has its strong points, as empiricism relates to the human experience in attempt to best relate information, rationalism seeks for the best reasoning, and skepticism does its best to remove faulty methods of thinking and generally bad or untrue information. Each strength is useful, and one cannot say one is best without ignoring critical aspects of another. Knowledge is a broad subject that must be approached from many angles, and none of these viewpoints are significantly better than the other as an all-purpose solution to assimilating information.
Rauhut, Nils CH. Ultimate Questions: Thinking About Philosophy. 2nd ed. New York: Pearson, 2007.