Theindividual under observation today is a boy aged between 3 and 5years in pre-school or first 2 grades in an elementary school, whohas been assigned a unique identity B1. He appears gentle, keen andready to cooperate with colleagues as well as the teacher. He showskeen interest in class work activities such as taking deep throughand interest in puzzles. He is also interested in new classenvironment such as new white boards and even attempts to havefirsthand experience of the events.
Themost important influence on the field of child development and earlychildhood education was originated by Jean Piaget. He was apsychologist from Switzerland who, beginning in the 1920s begandeveloping theories on the development of intelligence. Though thisgoal directed his research and writing, his theories havedramatically influenced education policy. Perhaps most importantlyfor kindergarten teachers was Piaget`s finding about how childrenlearn–through "the processes of assimilation andaccommodation." Thistheory explains the behavior in both B1 and B2 when introduced to anew environment. For example, whenintroducedto a new phenomenon, the boy B1 triesto understand it by assimilating it, or associating it with thingsthat healready knows. As the child gains experience with the newphenomenon, hisway of thinking changes, or accommodates, to take into account thecharacteristics of the new phenomenon.Thus,children, according to Piaget, should be introduced to newexperiences that relate in some meaningful way to what they havealready experienced. For decades, however, numerouspsychologists and educators questioned Piaget’s ideas.
Thechild B1 under observation is expressing evidence of prosocialbehaviors. These behaviors are empathetic because they benefit him aswell as the other individuals rather than doing them to solelybenefit others (sympathetic). For instance, he shares with hisfriends, especially female colleagues. However, B2 is relativelydifferent because he is mostly not interested in sharing or takingroles benefit other colleagues. For instance, he frowns at havingother friends share crafts with him. He also does not like thecleanup process.
Thereis evidence of aggression in B1. For instance, he holds a book firmlyor grabs it when a friend approaches, especially those that he doesnot want to share with. This seems to be relation because he hasprior knowledge that he does not like sharing with certainindividuals but shares with others.
Frommy observation, the two boys B1 and B2 provide a good example of thecommon behaviors in the developing children. B1 compares with B2 interms of aggression, prosocial behaviors and cognitive aspects.Piagets theory of cognitive behavior best explains the differencesand similarities between the two.