ECH 130 Topic 2 Cognitive Development

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ECH 130 Topic 2 Cognitive Development



Using 3-5 scholarly resources, write a 500-750-word essay that includes:

  1. Description of Piaget’s assumptions with key terms.
  2. Description Vygotsky’s assumptions with key terms.
  3. Compare and contrast Piaget’s assumptions and Vygotsky’s assumptions.
  4. Give an example from Piaget of how cognitive development affects learning and ability in the early childhood classroom.
  5. Give an example from Vygotsky of how cognitive development affects learning and ability in the early childhood classroom.

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Cognitive Development


Piaget’s stage theory suggests that children construct their knowledge in reaction or response to their experiences. As such, they learn things on their own and without the influence of older children and adults. Piaget’s theory also speculates that children reach essential motivation to learn and this learning is not founded on rewards from adults (McLeod, 2018). Therefore, the brain builds the structures it requires to function, and knowledge occurs due to the interaction between a child and the environment. The brain is influenced by social and physical environment, maturation, and equilibration.  Cognitive development occurs through schemas or stages through which children learn to understand and accommodate new information and events.

Vygotsky’s approach in cognitive development suggests that culture plays a critical role in children’s ability to develop higher mental functions. Vygotsky believed that interactions with adults foster cognitive development in children through the deliberate and systematic way of engaging them in meaningful and challenging tasks. The theory assumes that through both formal and informal interactions, adults in society convey to children how they should understand and respond to events in the world. Secondly, language and thought become independent in the early years of life, and thirdly, complicated mental processes start as social events and activities (McLeod, 2018b). Fourthly, children can accomplish complicated duties when helped by knowledgeable and advanced adults or older children. Fifthly, the theory proposes that challenging duties lead to maximum cognitive growth, and lastly, play helps children to increase their cognitive development.

Both Piaget and Vygotsky agree that children do not just consume experiences, but construct own knowledge about the world. For instance, Piaget viewed cognitive development in children from a biological perspective. Piaget noted that children are vibrant beings that play an active role in discovering their environment to understand their world through constructivist theory. Vygotsky considered children’s social context as the main influence on their cognitive development. He suggested that children are active seekers in learning new events and information (Farr, 2014). Vygotsky emphasized the importance of cultural and social upbringing associated with children’s capability to reason.

Piaget advanced that cognitive development is driven intrinsically by children based on the tendency to adapt to new events while Vygotsky suggested that cognitive development is influenced by social interaction. Secondly, Piaget suggested that children learn using active self-exploration whereas Vygotsky stated that children learn using guidance and instructions (DeVries, 2008). Thirdly, Piaget posited that children cognitive development is similar in all situations across the world while Vygotsky opined that it varies from cultures and time. Piaget believed that language is an outcome of cognitive development while Vygotsky stated that language is critical to cognitive development.

The Preoperational period is appropriate for the early childhood where transductive, egocentrism, and conversation reasoning are clear. Children at this stage should be assisted to overcome egocentrism through encountering different perspectives by placing themselves in the situation of other children (Meluso, Zheng & Spires, 2012). For example, the teacher can play dress up and encourage the child to assume such characters. Further, children should be encouraged to play with toys that have the ability to modify the shape. Educational games can be a source of development in early childhood. Teachers can use both objects and ideas to construct sounds and words that reflect how children grow and mature (Farr, 2014). For example, scaffolding, which is a variety of instructional techniques, can be used so that they can notice different sounds in classrooms when a teacher tosses a penny.




Farr, T. (2014) Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development. Retrieved from

DeVries, R. (2008) Vygotsky, Piaget, and Education: a reciprocal assimilation of theories and

educational practices. New Ideas in Psychology, Vol.18, No.2-3, pp.187-213.

McLeod, S. (2018a) Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development; Retrieved from

McLeod, S. (2018b) Lev Vygotsky: Developmental Psychology. Retrieved from

Meluso, A., Zheng, M., & Spires, H. A. (2012) Enhancing 5th Graders’ Science Content

Knowledge and Self-Efficacy through Games-Based Learning. Computers & Education, vol.59, No.2, pp.497-504.