View Full Version : What can you tell me about the Jean Piaget approach to schooling?

09-27-2006, 02:46 PM
How does it relate to Maria Montessori's? How is it different? Does your child (or anyone you may know) go to a preschool/elementary that uses that practice? How's it going? What do you like or not like?

Today I heard something interesting so just tell me all you can (or want to).


09-27-2006, 03:07 PM
Piaget is a renown cognitive developmental psychologist who theorized that all children pass through specific stages of cognitive development. I would imagine that a program that emphasized this strategy would focus on Piaget's developmental stages. Montessori basically encourages child-lead discovery, more focused on individual development rather than assuming all children are at the same stage at the same time. There are many, many, many other prominent psychologists and educational theorists who have other theories too.

I'm actually reading a great book right now by Howard Gardener that does a great job of summarizing all these theories. It's fairly heavy academic-esque reading if you're not familiar with them, but I think it's worth it. "The Unschooled Mind" but don't let the title scare you off! :)

There are other excellent books available if you'd like to read in depth rather than just listening to what I or the rest of the Internet says. :)


09-27-2006, 03:13 PM
Do you want to share the interesting thing you heard?

One thing to be cautious about Piaget is that he based all of his theory on observation of his own kids. He was one of the first people to suggest there are developmental stages at all, so his work is important. Kind of like Freud--studied but people have moved past that way of thinking. It is useful, but his stages are pretty rigid and limited in a lot of ways.

09-27-2006, 03:16 PM
You mean there are other ways of finding stuff out besides google? ;) :P I will have to shake the cobwebs off and check out The Unschooled Mind.

Thanks Holli!! I appreciate it. :)

09-27-2006, 03:19 PM
>Do you want to share the interesting thing you heard?

Oh, just that they may be starting a school like that very near to me. I heard it from a SIL, she's down with all the gossip. She was really talking it up. Nothing major. :)

09-27-2006, 03:25 PM
Yea, what I find amazing about Piaget is that he really did have some really great observations and theories just based on his kids. Who the heck has that kind of time with 3 kids running around?! LOL


09-27-2006, 03:28 PM
No doubt--I can barely plan dinner withone running around, much less develop an entirely new way of looking at kids!

Of course, you don't hear much about Ms. Piaget!

09-27-2006, 03:36 PM
Which do you mean, a Montessori school or a Piaget school? If it is the later I would be interested to know more. When I was in college (Early Childhood Education) most of my work in "theory" was based on Piaget, developmental stages etc. We would observe 2,3, and 4 year olds and discuss which stage we believed they were in based on what they were doing. I think this is where center based learning stems from. I havn't been in a classroom in almost 10 years, but I do know that Pre-K and K are becoming much more structured, not that this is a bad thing but it is what is going on now... Do you have a link to what SIL is talking about? School district, website, etc. I have a couple of friends who are still teaching and we are always talking about the "new" thing in education especially now that I have a child that will be in public school in two years.

Madeline and Emily's Mom
1/20/03 11/29/05

09-27-2006, 04:31 PM
Piaget's approach to teaching is pretty basic - you'll probably see it in schools that don't mention his name in particular. For example, discovery-led learning, not giving kids things that are beyond their "stage" or skill level, and using many different ways to concretely teach children a lesson/skill: manipulatives, discussions, field trips, individual, and in a group. Obviously these are all good things for a school to have.

Many of Montessori's ideas are generally now considered basic, too: having small tables and chairs for small children, letting them explore things on their own, letting children choose their activities, manipulatives, etc. But these were considered to be new and important when she first came up with these theories.

Each preschool can say that they use a certain approach, but will differ widely in practice. The daycare/preschool associated with my university likes to talk about their Piaget techniques, but the place itself doesn't offer the best care for their children (teacher-wise, for example). But that's just one example.

mommy to Kaylin 6/5/04


and one on the way, due 2/26/07

09-27-2006, 08:03 PM
You've given me some good info. Thank you all. I've got some good stuff to go on.

Jane--I'll ask my SIL some more specifics (website,etc) and send you a message.

09-27-2006, 09:25 PM
You SIL might be talking about The Goddard School? http://www.goddardschool.com. A new location is opening up in my neighborhood (the first in California) and they told me that they base their teachings on the Piaget method.

09-28-2006, 05:56 AM
My dd went to a daycare at a university up until this fall that was heavily influenced by Piaget and his followers. I liked it a lot. The teachers model behavior and the kids create for themselves not do what the teacher tells them to do. The kids need to be developmentally ready. For instance, most first graders can't do college physics. At my old daycare, the kids were interested in butterfies. So the teacher did a unit on them. They drew pictures instead of coloring pre-made sheets. They went on nature walks to see butterfiles. The kids used play scarves to make wings (they did this on their own). We went to the butterfly garden as a field trip. They read books on what they eat etc. They even got a caterpillar and watched it become a butterfly. The next group after my dd moved out of that room was mostly boys. So the teacher did a train unit because that was what the boys were interested in.

We moved and now dd goes to Tutor Time. They use the Howard Gardener's Multiple Intelligence Theory. I think he is up to 9 intelligences now. What they do is reinforce learning multiple ways. The teacher holds up the number, they say what the number is, they sing a number song, and they write the number. So they are getting visual, oral, singing, and fine motor skills all on the same concept. I think Tutor Time does a great job using the MI theory, but I feel it relies too much on ditto sheets etc.

Karin and Katie 10/24/02