When childcare professionals understand the cognitive development of a child, they are able to teach so that the child is able to learn.
Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy is nationally renowned for its childcare methodology, which is a whole-child approach. The staff works to strengthen and encourage every child’s emotional, intellectual, social, and physical well-being through the expertise of their childcare providers and a unique partnership with parents. The preschool’s First Class Curriculum® is a comprehensive core curriculum designed to empower children to learn through playing with a purpose. Their learning methods are research-based and standards-driven, being supported by the leading educational theories of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Sara Smilansky.
There are four essential components to the educational programs at Kids “R” Kids Learning Academies.
- Language development
- Physical development
- Cognitive development
- Social and emotional development
In addition, they enhance their programs with Brain Waves®, STEAM Ahead®, and ABCmouse®.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) is a pillar of the Kids “R” Kids Learning Academy approach to learning. Piaget was a Swiss psychologist, who was well-known for his theory of cognitive development that studied how children develop intellectually throughout their childhood. Prior to Piaget, children were often thought of simply as small adults. Instead, Piaget suggested that children think in ways that are fundamentally different from the way that adults think.
He was a pioneer in the field of developmental psychology and also contributed significantly to the field of education. His early work with Alfred Binet in the area of intelligence tests led Piaget to conclude that children think differently than adults. While this is a widely accepted notion today, it was considered revolutionary at the time. It was this observation that inspired his interest in understanding how knowledge grows throughout childhood.
Today, he is best known for his research on cognitive development in children. Piaget studied the intellectual development of his own three children, and from these studies created a theory that described the stages that children pass through in the development of intelligence and formal thought processes.
The theory identifies the following four stages:
- The sensorimotor stage: During this developmental stage (birth to 24 months), children know the world primarily through their senses and motor movements. Children make use of the skills and abilities they were born with (seeing, sucking, grasping, and listening) to learn more about the environment.
- The preoperational stage: The second stage of development extends from the ages of two to seven and is characterized by the development of language and the emergence of symbolic play. During this stage, children also become increasingly accomplished at using symbols, as evidenced by the increase in playing and pretending. For example, a child can use an object to represent something else. Riding a broom as if it were a horse is a familiar example to demonstrate the development of thinking at this stage. Role-playing also becomes more prominent. Children often play the roles of important people in their life such as a parent, a doctor, and many other characters.
- The concrete operational stage: The third stage of cognitive development lasts from about the age of seven to approximately age eleven. At this point, logical thinking begins to take shape. Children still wrestle with abstract thinking. They become more mature and sophisticated in their thought processes. Problem-solving in a more logical fashion becomes more evident. Abstract, hypothetical thinking is not yet developed in the child, and children can only solve problems that apply to real, concrete events or objects. At this stage, children begin to learn rules and principals and make applications to life. Piaget determined that children can incorporate inductive reasoning, which involves drawing inferences or conclusions from observations to make a generalization. In contrast, children struggle with deductive reasoning, which involves using a generalized principle in order to try to predict the outcome of an event. Children in this stage commonly experience difficulties with figuring out the logic in their heads.
- The formal operation stage: In this, the final stage of cognitive development (from age 12 to adulthood), children become much more adept in abstract thought and deductive reasoning.
Piaget provided support for the idea that children think differently than adults, and his research identified several important milestones in the mental development of children. His work also generated interest in cognitive and developmental psychology. Piaget’s theories are widely studied today by students of both psychology and education. An understanding of the basic characteristics of each of the four cognitive stages enables parents, teachers, and childcare providers to reach and teach children at a child’s level.