The early acquisition of mathematical concepts in children is essential for their overall cognitive development. It is imperative that educators focus on theoretical views to guide and plan the development of mathematical concepts in the early years. Early math concepts involve learning skills such as matching, ordering, sorting, classifying, sequencing and patterning. The early environment offers the foundation for children to develop an interest in numbers and their concepts. Children develop and construct their own meaning of numbers through active learning rather than teacher directed instruction.
Research has shown that ‘structured’ math lessons in early childhood are premature and can be detrimental to proper brain development for the young child, actually interfering with concept development (Gromicko, 2011). Children’s experiences in mathematics should reflect learning in a fun and natural way. The main focus of this essay is to show the effectiveness of applying learning theories by Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner and their relation to the active learning of basic concepts in maths. The theories represent Piaget’s Cognitivism, Vygotsky’s Social Cognitive and Bruner’s Constructivism. Based on my research and analysis, comparisons will be made to the theories presented and their overall impact on promoting mathematical capabilities in children. (ECFS 2009: Unit 5)
Piaget’s Cognitive theory represents concepts that children learn from interactions within the world around them. He believed that children think and reason at different stages in their development. His stages of cognitive development outline the importance of the process rather the final product. The main concept of this theory reflects the view that children develop at a different rate and this is highly dependant on the age and cognitive level/capabilities. (Cherry, 2014) Vygotsky’s theory is based on the construction of knowledge through our social interactions with others and is shaped by the skills and abilities reflected in our culture. He believed that language is the main tools for acquiring thinking, reasoning and pre reading skills in children. Vygotsky believed that young children are curious and actively involved in their own learning and the discovery and development of new understandings/schema (Mc Leod, 2007). Bruner’s theory is based on the belief that learning becomes more meaningful when cultural elements are used in curriculum and teaching approaches. (Takaya, 2008)
In this section a comparative and comparison analysis will be conducted on the three theories presented.
What do the Cognitivism, Social Cognitive and Constructivism theories have in common? Firstly, they all believed that children are active participants in the learning process. Vygotsky, Piaget, and Bruner have emphasized the connection between cognitive development and active interactions in the environment. Applying this theory to mathematics can be done through the use of...