Discuss one of the theories of development during middle childhood.

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Jean Piaget's cognitive-developmental stage theory states that children in middle childhood are in the concrete operational stage. At this stage, children can solve problems logically, but they have not yet developed abstract thinking. Children in this stage grasp inductive logic but may struggle with deductive logic. Children may also grasp...

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Jean Piaget's cognitive-developmental stage theory states that children in middle childhood are in the concrete operational stage. At this stage, children can solve problems logically, but they have not yet developed abstract thinking. Children in this stage grasp inductive logic but may struggle with deductive logic. Children may also grasp reversibility by understanding the relationships between various categories—for example, the child can know that her dog is a collie, a dog, and an animal at the same time. In the classroom, a child can know that the fraction three-fourths and 0.75 are the same amount.

The child can focus on things he/she can see but may have trouble grasping symbolic concepts. The child has a grasp of conservation, meaning that the child understands that one candy bar is the same as that same candy bar broken into smaller pieces.

The child in the concrete operational stage is less egocentric than a younger child. The child starts to understand that others may not see the world the same way he/she does and is able to start to feel empathy towards others. Children at this stage are starting to grasp how others may view situations, which is the beginning of abstract thought.

It is important that children in this stage of development grasp certain concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as these are key to understanding mathematical concepts requiring abstract thinking such as algebra and calculus. This stage in Piaget's theory lasts from approximately ages seven to eleven.

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Jean Piaget's theory of development during middle childhood is centered on a concept he called "concrete operational thought." This means that children at this developmental stage understand the world around them principally in terms of physical objects and outcomes. Their problem-solving ability increases dramatically, but it is still difficult for them to understand abstract concepts. The skills that develop most rapidly at this stage are linked to classification and seriation: sorting objects into taxonomic categories or putting numbers in the correct sequence. Like Vygotsky, Piaget noted that children at this stage are always learning and are just as likely to acquire skills and recognize patterns at home as they are at school.

Although children struggle with abstractions at this stage, they do develop empathy. This is an intellectual skill as well as an emotional one—realizing that other people have thoughts of their own and imagining what these might be. Piaget demonstrated this ability with his "Three Mountain Task." A miniature landscape containing three mountains is placed beside the child, who is then asked to describe what someone on the other side of the landscape would see. At the beginning of the middle childhood stage, the child will describe what s/he sees. As middle childhood progresses, the child develops the ability to put him/herself in another person's shoes and describe the landscape from that person's perspective.

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