The Origins of Intelligence in Children
In Jean Piaget’s book, The Origins of Intelligence in Children, (1952), he also suggests that this cognitive development in children in of a biological nature. This suggests that cognitive development will naturally unfold in children without any intervention from parents or educators. In other words, there is little that anyone can do with regard to encouraging or rushing this development. Thus, children cannot learn skills that are inappropriate for their cognitive level. They cannot be prevented from developing these skills by restricting their environment. In fact, one’s environment has little to do with this development process.
Vygotsky (1986) notes that Piaget’s theory revolutionized the way children’s thinking was characterized. Prior to Piaget’s formulation of his theory or his findings with his research with his children, the development of children’s thinking was basically thought of as a function of quantity. In other words, the development of a child’s cognitive process was based on the sheer accumulation of knowledge. Vygotsky points out that after Piaget, psychologists began thinking about cognitive development in terms of quality. Thus, it was not how much a child knew but how a child solved and approached problems. Additionally, the cognitive development involves how that child actually accumulated and interpreted new knowledge.
Although the cognitive theory of Piaget appears to be extremely descriptive of the quality of thought that occurs in the preoperational child, there appears to be some inconsistencies. To a certain extent, these inconsistencies might be the beginnings of thought that has not been fully developed. For example, while this writer might suggest that there is an abstract quality to social play, this simply might be the basis of future abstract behavior that is simply better defined.