Journal Entry 1 Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a stage theory

Journal Entry 1
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a stage theory. His theory states that all humans go through a series of change (Baron, 2001). According to (McLeod, 2009), it is postulated that “the pre-operational stage is the second stage of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. This stage begins around age two and last approximately to age seven”. During this stage, the child learns to use symbols of language. The child’s thinking during this stage is pre (before) operations. This means the child cannot use logic or transform, combine or separate ideas (Piaget, 1952 cited by McLeod 2009). Some of the key features of the pre-operational stage include symbolic play, egocentrism, animism, and the principles of conservation.

When I was at the pre-operational stage of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development I engaged in a lot of symbolic play and I solely believed in animism but egocentrism was a feature I did not portray. One hard stare from my mother and I knew what was coming next. In addition, I was never an outdoor person so I had ample amount of time to engage in symbolic play which involves pretend or parallel play, I would often dress up as a pop star and my toys would be the audience. At basic school, I would often play in the same room as other children but instead of playing with them I was playing beside them by myself. I was absorbed in my own little private world. Since I was so captivated by animism television was not an option for me. I believed that inanimate objects such as toys, teddy bears and dolls had human feelings and intentions. I can recall having my favourite blanket called Mr Yogi, I took it everywhere I went but one unfortunate day my older siblings were playing tug of war with it and my blanket got torn through the eyes. I cried for hours because I thought that he had died. Nevertheless, my mom sewed him up. I thought that sewing it back together wouldn’t make it the same blanket as before.

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In relation to my experience, I agree that we all go through a series of change as children but in contrast, I do not entirely agree that all children are egocentric at the pre-operational stage. According to (Piaget, 1975 as cited by Baron, 2001), he termed egocentrism as a child’s inability to understand that others may perceive things and the world differently than they do. As a child in the pre-operational stage I knew that everything is not just about me. I also understood as I got older that the world does not revolve around me and I cannot always get what I want when I want. Piaget’s theory made mention of key features in the pre-operational stage. Three of these features that were applicable relating to my experience are symbolic/ pretend play, animism and the principles of conservation.
When children get involved in symbolic/pretend play, they pretend to be people they are not for example a superhero. They may play these roles with props that symbolize real life objects (McLeod, 2014). In comparison to my experience I would often pretend to be a pop star. In symbolic play as a child it helped me to advance cognitions about people, objects and actions, in this way I could construct increasingly sophisticated representation of the world (Bornstein, 1996, p.293 as cited by McLeod, 2014).
Animism, another feature of the pre-operational stage, is the belief that inanimate objects inclusive of toys have human feelings and intentions. I agree with Piaget pertaining to this statement because as a child I was very animistic. I believed that the world of nature is alive, conscious and has a purpose. Presently, I observe my 3yr old cousin and she too is very animistic. As stated in my experience about the blanket, after it was fixed, it appeared to me as a different blanket. I believed this because I did not understand the principle of conservation. In comparison to my experience, Piaget termed this as knowledge that certain physical attributes of an object remain the same even though the outward appearance of the object is altered (Baron, 2001).

Reference
Baron, R. (2001). Psychology (5th edition). Needham heights, MA: Pearson Education Company.

McLeod, S. (2014), pre-operational stage. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/preoperational.html

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