How do babies learn? Here is a piece from the Growing Child newsletter distributed by Lifestart which gives us some insight into that.
Around her first birthday, what kinds of things is Baby now doing on her own? If you watch her carefully, you will notice she is likely to try to do something in a different manner the second, or at least the third time she tries to repeat an action. For instance, when she discovers the fascination of dropping objects, she doesn’t drop the same toy the same way each time. Instead she holds her arm in different positions She also tries out all possible surfaces for dropping.
This is quite a change from her younger months when she used to do the same thing over and over like banging an object or shaking her arms and legs to sway the bassinet. What has happened is that she is no longer so fascinated with the effect she can produce when she simply makes the same thing happen over and over again.
Her interest has shifted to the world of causes and effects outside herself. She is willing and able to make variations in her actions to learn about the nature of the objects themselves. She has now begun to sort and classify her experiences in a simple way.
Jean Piaget, the noted psychologist, divided a baby’s learning experiences into two categories.
First, she tries it out with a number of variations. She exercises the idea, so to speak. Baby’s various ways of dropping an object is not just a onetime occurrence but a predictable
happening. Then, along comes a situation where an idea doesn’t work. Let’s say that Baby is exercising the idea that she can put objects into a box through a hole in the top. All of a sudden, an object refuses to go through the hole—push though she will. Now comes a tiny crisis.
Baby’s idea, which had been so stable, suddenly becomes unsettled. She must either reconcile the idea with this new happening or give it up entirely.
Of course, Baby soon learns to modify her idea slightly. All objectswill go through the hole except those that are “too big.” Her process of adapting an idea to new circumstances is the second category of learning experiences and it is really the more important of the two. By this means, all of us have gained a more highly refined understanding of the world and its ways.
The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of: THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION,
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