History of Child Development Theorists


John Locke

1632 - 1704

John Locke was the first to believe that children were blank slates. His theories were the beginning of our modern conception of self.

Connolly, Patrick J. "Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.P., N.D. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.

Friedrich Froebel

1782 - 1852

Friedrich Froebel was the founder of kindergarten; he emphasized the value of play. Froebel said that trained teachers were very important. He was a very influential educational reformer. Froebel also designed toys.

"Friedrich Froebel." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, N.D. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.

Sigmund Freud

1856 - 1939

Sigmund Freud was considered the father of psychology: although his theories were very controversial, he had a large influence. He theorized that the mind is complex energy system, and the human personality is fully developed by the time we are five. Freud refined concepts of the unconscious, and was also a psychosocialdevelopmentalist.

"Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. N.P., N.D. 12 Sept. 2016. Web.

Alfred Binet

1857 - 1911

Alfred Binet was the inventor of of the first usable intelligence test, which is the basis for our modern IQ tests. He also tried to identify the kids who needed special help in school.

Plucker, Jonathan. "Human Intelligence: Alfred Binet." Human Intelligence: Alfred Binet. N.P., 7 Nov. 2013. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.

Maria Montessori

1870 - 1952

Maria Montessori said that children learn at their own pace, and should be allowed to work through things alone. She stressed the importance of practical skill learning. Montessori also theorized that kids were bored, not unruly.

"Maria Montessori Biography." And History. Berndt Group, 2016. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.

Arnold Gesell

1880 - 1961

Arnold Gesell used controlled environments to study child behavior in children at a variety of ages, videoing them through one way mirror. Gesell said that motor skills, adaptive skills, language development, and social skills were all influenced by heredity. He also wrote books on the upbringing and development of children.

"Arnold Gesell". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. 12 Sep. 2016. Web.

Lev Vygotsky

1896 - 1934

Lev Vygotsky was considered the Mozart of psychology. He believed that cultural background affects development stages. He also believe in the Zone of Proximal Development.

"The Mozart of Psychology." The Mozart of Psychology. N.P., N.D. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.

Jean Piaget

1896 - 1939

Jean Piaget said that intellectual development was in 4 stages: sensorimotor stage, pre-operational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal operational stage. He believed in self-exploration without the assistance of teachers.

"Jean Piaget Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, N.D. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.

Erik Erikson

1902 - 1990

Erik Erikson believed that their were 8 stages of development, and a person's personality depends on how person reacts to psychological
crisis at each stage. He liked Freud and studied his theories.

Sharkey, Wendy. "Erik Erikson." Psychology History. N.P., May 1997. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.

B. F. Skinner

1904 - 1990

B. F. Skinner was a very influential theorist. He studied positive and negative reinforcement with rodents, and found that behavior will or will not continue depending on how it is rewarded or punished.

Swenson, Christa. "Burrhus Frederick Skinner." Psychology History. N.P., May 1999. 13 Sept. 2016.

Lawrence Kohlberg

1927 - 1987

Lawrence Kohlberg was greatly inspired by Jean Piaget. he said that moral development began with a desire to avoid punishment. He used moral dilemmas to test where kids were morally. He said that there were three main stages: wanting to avoid trouble, following the principles of a group, developing their own principles.

"Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987)." Lawrence Kohlberg Biography. N.P., 7 June 2015. 13 Sept. 2016. Web.