Jean Piaget and his Work with Children

The inside workings of children’s mind intrigued Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist is known for his pioneering studies of how children learn. He was fascinated by the workings of their mind, and not so much as when they gave right answers as when they gave the wrong answers. He understood that something in the way their mind worked caused the wrong answer. An example, a very young child first beginning to talk and to take notice will call a horse a dog. In their limited amount of knowledge the answer to them were right. They understood that there were similarities between a dog and a horse, probably it was the fact that both had four legs and a tail.

He decided that knowledge in children was progressive, and basically,  what he meant is that the older one gets, and when more is learned about a subject, the more refined the knowledge becomes. No longer, then, will the learning be rudimentary, or only in its beginning, it builds upon itself.

The method by which a child first learns is the method he uses to learn throughout his life span. And this is the same in childhood as in adult, their learning brings order out of chaos. No longer is the world around them a hodgepodge of unconnected pieces but parts of puzzle that they put together.

Grownups never cease to be fascinated by the simplistic way a child minds works. Their insightful little minds cuts right to the core of what to most adults is confusion and spouts off amazing wisdom. This is so because they have not yet learned enough facts and surrounded their clear and uncluttered mind’s eye’ with superfluous thoughts on the subject.

How did Jean Piaget get interested in how children learned? He worked his way into it. At first, at the age of ten he was interested in a nearby collection of mollusk shells and asked the director to allow him to see more of them. He was hired to help classify them and after four years he became an expert in the minute difference of how these grew. After that and after a certain amount of schooling, of course, he transferred to Paris and started working with children and he became intensively interested in how their minds worked.

Then he returned to Switzerland and seriously took up the study of child psychology. His legacy is the way of thinking about children and how they learn that have brought about overall modifications in the field of psychological learning.

Much of the talk in Psychological circles that concerns itself with cognition’ and conceptual thinking’ had its beginnings with Jean Piaget. Therefore this is his legacy: Minds that reason problems out for themselves.

Pycha, Anne, Father of Developmental Society