Numerous educational and childhood development theories have excellently affected school readiness discussions. Among the most notable theories that hold an effect on readiness, practices are maturationists, constructivists and environmentalists' development theories. Maturationists observe that there can be achievement of school readiness practices when all healthy children hold the potential to carry out activities such as counting and alphabet recitation. Encompassment of these activities is in learning of more intricate errands such as arithmetic or reading (Lenz-Taguchi, 2010). On the other hand, the environmentalists' theory ascertains that the environment that children survive in molds their behaviors and learning. In fact, environmentalists believe that development, learning and human behaviors are responses to a child's setting. Some of the principal developers of environmentalist theories include B.Skinner and John Watson. Constructivist readiness perspective is the work of Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget among other theorists. Such theorists believed that development and learning take place when children interact with people as well as the environment surrounding them. They maintain that active relations with people and environment are crucial for development and learning. In this regard, educational theories extensively influence the build up and administration of early childhood education programs.
Comparing and Contrasting Educational Theories
Given the significance of educational theories, this brief overview will assess, compare and contrast educational theories as underscored by Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and Erik Erickson.
Jean Piaget Cognitive Development Theory
Jean Piaget born in Neuchatel Switzerland in 1896 was a key epistemologist (Bruno, 2008). He studied the definitions and origin of knowledge. Piaget confirmed the need to comprehend how a mind of a child works. More so, he asserted that a child learns through living and maintained that the responsibility of an educator is to facilitate inquiry besides assisting a child's natural expedition for acquaintance. Piaget held the view that construction is much better than instruction (Bruno, 2008). This is due to his belief that children are empty containers that potentially wait for filling by information. He, therefore, developed the theory of cognition.
Piaget theory of cognitive development affirms that a child's intellectual ability frequently advances through four diverse stages. Each stage of development passes on new aptitudes besides exceptional means of information processing and dispensing (Nevid, 2008). Particularly, children are commonly born with a penchant to bring into the light and interrelate with the environments surrounding them. On the other hand, adults also apply the unchanged tactical techniques while dealing and handling objects around them. Children become habituated to their response. Moreover, children relentlessly strive to slot in other new-fangled approaches to deal with life's challenging situations. Children more often than not get an urge to gain knowledge and identify with new experiences while putting together the already accessible methods. They comprehensively struggle to bring in amendments to the existing techniques while striving to fit in innovative techniques.
Piaget sought to comprehend how individuals obtain acquaintance as well as how people recognize that they have already gained that knowledge (Nevid, 2008). His studies for the most part focused on young children and infants as a means of offering a comprehensible picture of cognitive development. Among the methods, Piaget used in studying the mind of children included phenomenological method, which entails appealing to children to articulate a bit about their immediate surroundings. This method was feasible through asking well-phrased questions (Nevid, 2008). It is noteworthy that, Piaget depended on the answers given by the children since these answers represented their views as pertaining to the wide-ranging environment. The answers also illustrated how children interact with their immediate surroundings. According to Jean Piaget, children learn to find answers through the support of the environment and people around them.
Stages of Piaget Cognitive Development Theory
The results of Piaget investigations triggered him to draw attention to four phases of cognitive growth. The first stage of is the sensor meter stage which is identified with infants below two years. In this stage, the infant is conscious of the environment around him/her but the ability to be conscious of him/her self. Nevertheless, in this stage, the infant reacts instinctively to any incentive that is put to test him (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). The infant is constantly in a position to sense and react to any object and movement but does not put into thought or have any reflection about the incident. In particular, the dealings of the toddler gradually become intentional older growth but still lack the potential to realize their survival. Precisely, children in this stage have the potential to understand and react to the environments they dwell in but subsequently lack the aptitude of self-awareness.
A child then advances to preoperational stage that is principally associated with children between two and seven years. Children in this stage constantly think in magical terms while defying the role of nature. They believe that everything they see or hear is the reality. As a result, they lack the thought of both basis and effect (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). These children never put into consideration the nature laws. However, this stage is characterized with both egocentrism and anthropomorphic thinking whereby the child gives human traits to everything that he sees in the surrounding environment. By being egocentric, the child tries to describe how they see and perceive themselves with respect to the world. Therefore, a child in this stage holds the potential to examine what they see and hear but in a way that fails in replication of reality (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).
This is followed by the concrete operations stage, which occurs when a child is between the seven and twelve years old. This stage invites the child to think in away that reflects basis and effects of nature. The child can comprehend what they see and what they experience. Mostly, in this stage children are interested in knowing how things work and what causes things to work in a particular way. Explicitly, a child in this stage understands what they envisage but cannot understand clearly, what is not in their sight.
The last stage is the formal operations stage, which encompasses people from the age of twelve and above who are adolescents and adults. In this stage, conceptual thinking develops with people forming complex thoughts that are reliance to the information given. Application of inductive and deductive reasoning is evident in this stage, and it supports in creating conclusions, which are not provisional but rather based on facts. As such, people who have gone beyond this stage have a higher thinking capacity that helps them see reality (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).
Lev Vygotsky's Theory of Social Development
Lev Vygotsky, was a Russian psychologist who was born in Orsha, Russia in 1896 (Bruno, 2008). Lev realized the insufficiency of intelligence test that facilitates identification of children's gift. More so, Lev realized the significance of cultural and social associations within the development of an individual. He ascertained that children grow, learn and build up their gifts with appropriate assistance within constructive links otherwise referred to as scaffolding. Furthermore, Lev developed the idea of an individual's (ZPD) "zone of proximal development." Through the zone of proximal development, educators observe, look forward to and stand prepared to assist a child in her quest to become skilled at the next vital life lesson (Marsh, 2007). Precisely, throughout his educational theory, Lev sought to confirm the significance of relationships with respect to the learning and development of a child.
Major Themes in Lev Vygotsky Theory
Lev believed that social relations play a crucial role in development procedure. His belief contrasts that of Jean Piaget who held that development essentially precedes learning. On the contrary, Lev believed that social learning comes before development. In his theory, he stated that every activity in the cultural growth of a child appears twice, that is, on the societal level and soon after in the level of an individual. This happens interpsychologically and intrapyschologically (Marsh, 2007).
The second theme in Lev education theory is MKO (More Knowledgeable Other). The More knowledge other is anyone who holds a better understanding or advanced aptitude as compared to the learner (Parke & Clarke-Stewart, 2010). This is with respect to a certain task, procedure or ideal. MKO is usually considered as being a coach, older adult or teacher. More so, a MKO could as well be peers computers or a younger person.
The third theme is the ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) which is considered as the detachment between the ability of a learner to carry out a task through guidance from an older person or peer collaboration (Parke & Clarke-Stewart, 2010). More so, it is considered as the aptitude of a learner to solve issues independently.
Notably, Lev centered on the relationships between people and the context of socio-cultural through which people function and intermingle in collective experiences. With reference to Lev's theory, human beings employ apparatus that build up from culture such as writing, speech and their immediate social environments. Initially, children were known to develop apparatus in order to serve as social activities…