Sumary of Millie Smith’s presentation about teaching children who are in Piaget’s first stage of cognitive development:
Piaget’s first stage of cognitive development usually occurs from birth to about age 2. During this stage, children learn about themselves and their environment through sensation and movement. Mental activity is more likely to occur as a result of active manipulation of objects. The child learns that s/he is separate from the environment and that people and things in the environment continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of the senses. Teaching a child in this stage should be geared to the sensorimotor system. If a person is chronologically older, but is still has a cognitive age of 0 to 2, working with the sensorimotor system continues to be appropriate.
Education interventions during Piaget’s first phase of cognitive development should build a positively bonded relationship between the learner and the partner, stimulate curiosity, motivate interaction and develop skills through social experiences that facilitate access to sensory information.
Learning can happen independently, but teaching is always a social experience.
Ø From the learner’s point of view
– My body is comfortable
– I know where I am and who you are
– I trust you enough to want to share an experience with you
Ø From the teaching partner’s point of view
– I know you are a unique individual
– I know that each of us contributes to the world in different and significant ways
– I value you enough to want our shared experience to be pleasurable and effective for you
Increase agency, anticipation and participation to increase quality of life.
• Agency: having some influence over people and events
• Anticipation: something to look forward to
• Participation: shared experience
Agency skills are cognitive, communicative and motor.
v Cognition is a dynamic process comprised of specific skills that develop over time as a result of experience. Billions of sensory experiences are required for adequate brain development in first year of life. Sensory characteristics activate processing. Context facilitates development of meaning.
Ø Cognitive Process
• Near senses (tactual, through hands and mouth)
• Distance senses (visual, auditory, olfactory)
• Movement and position senses (vestibular, proprioceptive)
– Storage (Memory)
• Sensory channel input retained for milliseconds
• Short-term or holding of 5-7 items for a few minutes
• Long-term or life-long retention of events and knowledge
• Procedural or Long-term retention of motor sequences
• External or internal stimulus trigger
• Stimulates reconstruction of “queried” information
• Result is combination of original experience and associated information
– Use and adaptive behavior
Ø Cognitive Skills
– Object exploration and schemes
– Object permanence and search
– Spatial relationships
Ø Requesting: eye gaze, point, vocalize, gesture, smile
Ø Refusing: head turn, vocalize, frown, gesture, push
Ø Commenting: manipulate object, gesture
Ø Questioning: point, vocalize, facial expression
Ø Stages of motor event
– Preparation (high cortical activity)
– Initiation (high cortical activity)
– Execution (lowest cortical activity)
Ø Response methods include eye point, hand point, reach, touch, give (grasp/release), push, press, place and scan.
Ø Minimize stress through the use of routines that are familiar, predictable, consistent and frequent. Stress can stimulate fight, flight or freeze responses, impair cognitive function and erase memory encodes.
Ø Encourage anticipation and participation thorough routines that offer opportunities to communicate and develop skills.
Ø Routine levels encourage different cognitive skills.
– Quiet alert: Attention to stimulation provided by partner
• Goal: create and maintain alertness
• Learner begins to realize that expressions of pleasure and displeasure affect the behavior of his/ her partner
– Active alert: Exploration of learning media
• Goal: development of object schemes, imitation, causality, object permanence
• Learner begins to use a variety of behaviors to request, reject, and sustain specific interactions
– Partial Participation: Outcome directed motor sequences
• Goal: development of means/ends, spatial relationships
• Learner begins to use objects to request, refuse, comment, question, and organize
Ø Touching the learner
– Position hands and eyes for maximum access.
– Facilitate with cues.
– Facilitate with hand under hand assistance when possible. It feels less intrusive than hand over hand and leaves more of the student’s hand free to feel objects.
Smith, Millie. (2009, October) American Printing House for the Blind Sensory Learning Kit. Presented in Roseville, MN.
Piaget’s Cognitive Stages. (n.d.) Retrieved 26 October 2009 from Honolulu Community College web site. http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/piaget.htm