Compare and Contrast Essay on Educational Psychology: Piaget, Vygotsky and Montessori

Published: 2021-07-05
871 words
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Vanderbilt University
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Vygotsky initiated his writing works by focusing on the existing psychological gaps in his time. More so, Vygotsky studies resulted in the alteration of the words of another psychologist, Jean Piaget. During his short period of research, Vygotsky developed various ideologies, but many did not make it to publication by the time he died. However, many years after his death, the works of Vygotsky gained recognition and started being published. According to one of his studies, people are described by primary sociability (Holzman, 2016). This statement meant that individuals are socially genetic. Vygotskys main works focused on development psychology.

On the other hand, Piaget focused his studies on intelligence psychology. Piaget also focused on child development issues just as Vygotsky. The theory of cognitive development is attributed to the works and contributions of Piaget. He further initiated the rise of the epistemological view. The combination of the epistemological view and the theory of cognitive development came to be referred to as the genetic epistemology (Sample, 2002). Cognitive development theory addresses issues regarding language learning, perceptual skills, and information processing, among many other aspects that a child undergoes as they grow. The cognitive development theory has been helpful to psychologists in the assessing contemporary issues that influence the development of children.

Montessori developed the Montessori education approach that is applied by many educators as well as parents today. Montessori suggested that child needs should be the center of the school system (Lillard, 2013). She revised the dominant approach that was initially used during the 20th century. In her works, Montessori addresses the need to educate each child separately rather than teaching them as a group. She cites that each child has their fundamental needs that must be dealt with on a one on one basis so that the child can derive maximum satisfaction from the education.

Comparison of Views and Attitudes on Childrens Play

Vygotsky indicated that there are numerous benefits that children can get from playing. However, the psychologists emphasized on the need for children to participate in imaginative play rather than just the physical ones. Vygotsky established that children usually engage in personal dialogues when they participate in mind games (Holzman, 2016). During such times, the kids can create different characters in their heads and assign various roles to them. By so doing, Vygotsky claimed that the children could develop vocabularies that they could use in real life. The theorist felt that children who were not exposed to conversations would form such mind games. Vygotsky established that when children are playing, they engage in constant dialogue with themselves or with persons around them. The theorists further felt that when children participate in games, they connect to the world through internal discussions (Holzman, 2016). When playing, children can struggle to solve puzzles. However, in the presence of an adult, the childs problem solving is elevated. Vygotsky referred to this difference between when the child is alone and in the presence of an adult as zone of proximal development' which is essential for the mental growth of the child.

On the other hand, Piaget suggested a series of play stages that were associated with the cognitive development of children. He named the first stage as a sensorimotor stage that is the day a child is born and when they are two years old. In this phase, Piaget established that children engaged in repetitive actions such as sucking, babbling, and shaking which he referred to as practice play (Sample, 2002). These events would later lead to original childhood games such as peek-a-boo. Through such games, the child could start relating to single events in the environment. The second stage, preoperational phase, was established to be between two and seven years. At this level, the child engages in real life games that help them to think more intuitively than before and relate words to objects. As they reach the age of 7, Piaget suggested that children will participate in games categorized with structure, rules, and social mingling. At the ages of 7 to 11, the children are at the concrete operational stage and get involved in mentally challenging games that are vital for their development. When the children reach the age of twelve, they are regarded to be in the formal operational stage. In this phase, Piaget indicated that children feel compelled to engage in games that are codified and competitive (Sample, 2002).

On her part, Montessori felt that play should be made a child-centered initiative. The child has the mandate to choose the activity they want (Lillard, 2013). Each child has their needs that have to be fulfilled individually. Montessori felt that childrens games should be about what the child wants rather than what they are obliged to do. Adults get included in the games as facilitators or initiators but not decision-makers. As a result, Montessori perceived that the children would learn by themselves. Besides, Montessori felt that childrens play should be conducted by psychological rules that give the game a formal structure. Montessori established that the child-centered approach was more meaningful and productive during play than other coercive means that were being applied.


Holzman, L. (2016). Vygotsky at work and play. Taylor & Francis.

Lillard, A. S. (2013). Playful learning and Montessori education. American journal of play,5(2), 157.

Sample, I. (2002). Comparing Piaget and Vygotsky. Educational Psychology.


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