Title: Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget, & Vygotsky
Author: Carol Garhart Mooney
Publication Year: 2013
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Review: I am grateful for this book. It only took one evening to leisurely read and yet I feel like I have a fairly reasonable, if superficial knowledge of what each of these individuals contributed to child development.
To simplify it even further based on this book, which I realize is unfair to each of these people who dedicated their life’s work to better understanding children, I would say:
Dewey: Believed it was the role of the teacher to observe and help guide and teach children based on their interests and present knowledge and experience.
Montessori: Believed children should be provided with a prepared, organized environment in which to learn (or work) as they choose for uninterrupted periods of time.
Erikson: Identified different stages of emotional development. Thought babies should learn trust through loving, responsive caregivers in the first year. Toddlers should learn autonomy through simple choices and clear limits from understanding caregivers. Preschoolers should learn initiative though encouraging caregivers who downplay mistakes.
Piaget: Studied how children learned and became aware of different phenomena. Identified different stages of cognitive awareness such as the sensorimotor stage for the infant in which they learn through senses and reflexes and the preoperational stage for the toddler and preschooler in which they base ideas on perceptions and tend to overgeneralize.
Vygotsky: Believed that it was possible for teacher to help “scaffold” learning experiences for the child by setting up experiences that are within their “zone of proximal development” to push them to learn or try things they might not do on their own.
All of these experts seem to emphasize the importance of the teacher’s role as an observer as well as the necessity of providing real life, concrete, practical experiences for children.(Personal Rating: 8/10)