# Last Saturday as I clocked out of work

Last Saturday as I clocked out of work, I walked to the front of the museum to where our children’s toy store is located. As I walked around the store looking for a present for my nephew, I thought to myself that this would be a perfect opportunity to observe a child and their parent. As I came across a shelf full of educational toys, to the right of me I could hear a little girl around the age of three or four giggling and talking. I couldn’t exactly see who she was giggling and talking with, but I decided to observe. Eventually, her father came from around the corner and I could hear him telling her that the toy she had in her hand was the same one that she had at home just a different color. As the father prompted her to pick another toy she began to cry, he picked her up and proceeded to walk around the store comforting her as he browsed. I really admired that the father did not instantly take the toy away from his daughter, instead he allowed her to keep it while he looked for another toy she could take. A couple moments later, her father put her down and showed her a display of Magna-Tiles. Magna-Tiles are magnetic tiles with multiple shapes and colors that allow you to build anything you want. The little girl slowly stepped closer to where her father was playing and with her free hand, she grabbed a tile and began to play too. I could see that as she was playing it was becoming difficult for her to build with only one hand so she put the other toy down. As I observed the child in her new discovery, I thought about Piaget’s Organization by Cognitive Schema processes.
As mentioned in Child Development from Infancy to Adolescence, Organization by Cognitive Schema contains two different processes. One process known as Assimilation is the experience that the child has that he/she can immediately relate to because of existing schemas. The second process is known as Accommodating. This process is the experience that the child has and cannot relate to because the experience is genuinely new. Additionally, our book gives an excellent example in which the child is presented with a different kind of sandwich but can assimilate with it because she has had a sandwich before. Whereas the second exhibit of food presents itself as crab with its shell still intact. Since the child has never seen crab served this way before, then he/she accommodates rather than assimilates (Levine 180). Ultimately, when a child accommodates to something, it is added to the child’s existing schemas. In my observation, the father showed his daughter the assimilation process in which he helped her realized that the Magna-Tiles were toys too. This experience was added into her previous schema of toys.
Additionally, an article called Dev E-R: A computational model of early cognitive development as a creative process by Wendy Aguilar, helped me understand a third part that can result from the two processes. The two processes can end in what Piaget called equilibrium or disequilibrium. Aguilar states in her article “…when children interact with their environment by using their previously acquired experience, they are in a state called cognitive equilibrium” (Aguilar 2015). However, when a child tries to use their past experience to figure out this new experience and fails, the child enters a state of disequilibrium. During this state of disequilibrium the child then accommodates to the new experience and adds it to past schemas restoring equilibrium. In my observation, the little girl chose the toy she already had at home in a different color because she could assimilate with it. When her dad informed her to choose another toy and presented her the Magna-Tiles she entered disequilibrium because she did not know they were toys until she began to play with them.
For this observation, Piaget would focus on the child’s reaction that she had towards the new toy. The child’s reaction shows that she had not seen toys like that before which lead me to critically think about what she was thinking. Because she had never seen this kind of toy, she was most likely thinking that based on the appearance it would not be a toy. While the little girl displayed this reaction, I think she was in the Sensorimotor Stage. In the Sensorimotor stage “Piaget believed infants organize their world by the means of their senses” (Levine 181). Child Development from Infancy to Adolescence explains that a child will not know that a rattle is a toy by just looking at it, the child needs to shake the rattle in order to know that it is a toy. In comparison to that example, the little girl in the toy store needed to play with the Magna-Tiles so that she could figure out that it was a toy.
In conclusion, I believe that Piaget created an interesting insight on explaining the development of children.

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