The above mentioned children’s behaviors can be easily explained by the theories of development according to Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson.

Through play children have an opportunity to learn the benefits of cooperation and social interaction. According to Erikson’s psychosocial theory, which discusses the role of interaction between the child and the social environment, all children observed at the playground try “to adjust to the demands of the society” (Charlesworth 15). The role-play helps children in their cognitive development. Through pretending to be somebody else and through the use of special objects such as stones and paper instead of money, Lina, Mary and Kitty have their first symbolic experiences. The girls learn to use numbers and words as symbols. In accordance with Vygotsky, “learning self-regulation through play helps children to learn the rules of social interaction through play” (Charlesworth 18). The major social task of children is to create healthy relationships with other children in the group, according to Erikson’s theory. It means that children become more independent and know how to behave in this or that situation. Piaget also considers that play can be viewed as an important tool of learning. Additionally, children have an opportunity to learn more about another child’s point of view. Social interactions are of great importance for children of all age groups. According to Vygotsky, adults play an important role in the social interaction of children. Adult can be viewed as “the provider of cultural knowledge” (Charlesworth 544). In our case, there were no adults involved in the process of children interaction at the playground. However, Vygotsky states that play can be effectively used to foster creativity and cooperation among children. In our case, the boys and the girls used their creativity as they used different role-play games and other activities. For example, Lina played the role of a teacher, while Mary played the role of a shop-assistant.

In addition, the behavior of children at the playground was based on emotions. All children expressed their emotions and feelings. The girls and boys often laughed, smiled and had positive attitude towards each other. In some situations they gave affection and positive acceptance. For example, Tom sat between Dan and Anthony and the three boys had their arms around each other. Dan hugged Anthony several times. However, some boys expressed their aggressive behavior when they failed to decide who should be the first to use the bicycle. According to Freud’s theory, “children ages 3 to 6 are in the stage in which a child concentrates on sex-role identification and conscience development”(Charlesworth 503). During this stage children become more aware of themselves in terms of gender, and successfully deal with this process. In addition, children of this age begin to develop their superegos. According to Freud’s theory of personality “at around 4 to 6 years old, the child comes into contact with authority and the superego emerges” (Meggitt 161).

In the process of observation, the behaviors of Lina, Tom, Mary, Dan, Anthony and Kitty were positive. Their interactions with peers influenced their cognitive development and in some situations, they were involved in cognitive conflict. It is found that cognitive conflict often results in “arguing and debating with peers”, according to Piaget. It is also found that with peers, children are more independent and can easily confront the ideas of others. In our case, two boys were in conflict because of the use of the bicycle. Lina was arguing with Mary because she did not want her to play the role of a teacher in their game. All children interacting together at the playground had a clear sense of right and wrong, enjoyed games and physical activities.


In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the theories of child development by Piaget, Vygotsky, Freud and Erikson help to better understand children behavior and the major stages of child development. The interaction of the children observed at the playground was analyzed in terms of the above mentioned development theories. The analysis proved the fact that all children were at the appropriate stage of their development. Interaction with peers provides children significant learning experiences. If adult-child relationships can be viewed as more didactic, peer relationships can be viewed as more creative and more interactive. In the above mentioned observation, it is revealed that children learn to negotiate, develop the sense of belonging and participate in joint activities (games, discussions, etc.) which help them to develop friendships and learn to trust others.


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