elia asks:

A 4 yr old is playing with puzzles. What kind of cognitive play is this according to Piaget?

In Topics: Preschool
> 60 days ago


Answers (1)

pigtoria writes:
Hi Elia,

I have to admit that one of the things I’ve enjoyed when I was a preschool teacher is watching preschoolers play with puzzles.  It’s a great way to observe cognitive development in action.  The younger preschoolers usually just pick up a piece of puzzle and put it into a slot or next to another puzzle to see if it fits.  The young preschooler usually tries to fit the puzzle in only one way.  If it doesn’t fit, then the preschooler will put it back to the scattered puzzles pile and get another piece and go through the same “I’ll see if this fits” process.  According to Piaget, this process is called “trial and error”.  Don’t downplay these “trial and error” phases, it’s very important.  Piaget believed that children learn about their natural environment through “trial and error”.  It’s through these “trial and error” that children “collect data” about their surroundings and how things work and this is how their cognition develops.  

Observing an older preschooler playing the puzzle will assure you that he or she has gone through the “trial and error” phase many times and that he or she had “collected” enough data.  The older preschooler usually studied his unfinished puzzle, reach out for the most appropriate shape or color that matches the unfinished puzzle.  Unlike the younger preschooler, the older preschooler “collected” data and know specifically which puzzle piece will fit.  And if that puzzle piece doesn’t fit, the older preschooler knows to rotate the piece in another direction to fit it into the puzzle. After playing with the same puzzle several times, the older preschooler will eventually have a mental representation of the finished puzzle and can put the pieces together quickly.

The cognitive stages that children go through in playing with the puzzle would be: trial and error, collecting data, and finally having a mental image of the finished puzzle (at this stage the preschooler will grab all the right puzzle piece each time).

Hope this helps!

> 60 days ago

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