In the book, “Curious George rides a bike” by H.A. Rey, George receives a new bike from his friend. His friend tells him to be careful with his new bike and to keep close to the house while he is gone. George does not listen to his friend and decides to go exploring away from the house. While exploring, George sees two boys playing with their toy boats and then decides that he wants to play with a toy boat. George made a plan (how to make the boat) and then he carried out the task. George made himself a boat out of newspaper. This is an example of stage two, 1-3 years, Erikson. “In stage two, children express their growing self control by climbing, touching, exploring, and try to do things for themselves.” (Dennis Coon) Though most children in stage two would be exploring their kitchen floor, or ceiling, not a river!
I also read the story, “Curious George gets a medal” by H.A. Rey. In this story George makes a mess in his friends house. George is anxious to clean up the mess before his friend gets home. The reason that he is so eager to clean up the mess is because he is thinking about the possible consequences of his actions. If this were an actual little boy, he would be thinking, “ I don’t want to get punished, so I will clean up the mess.” Or, “Oh, No! I’m going to get into big trouble!” This is an example of Stage 1 the preconventional level, Kohlberg. If his friend weren’t coming home would George work so vigorously to clean up the mess? I think not.
In the second half of the book, George is asked to help a professor in a somewhat dangerous experiment. The professor that has asked this of him says, “Of course everything will be forgiven if you are willing to go.” (George got into a bit of trouble while he was there.) George agrees to this request because he wants to please others. George wants to be nice. Why would a child want to please others? It’s because they are trying to avoid disapproval. This is an example of Stage 3, the conventional level, Kohlberg.
The last book that I read was “Curious George” by H.A. Rey. George is taken from his home in Africa, to a big ship. His friend tells him to “ run along and play but don’t get into any trouble.” George promises to be good. George found some sea gulls on the deck, and saw that they could fly. He wanted to fly too. George tried to fly, and fell into the ocean instead. Obviously, George is not thinking logically. He does not realize that he can not fly. This is an example of the preoperational stage, 2-7 years. Piaget.
I have another example of the preoperational stage not related to the book. My little sister, Zoë, is 4 years old. My mother recently bought her a personalized song tape. In the beginning of the tape it asks her to yell out her name. She screams, “Zoë!!”. Then it says “Zoë?! That’s a nice name!” Throughout the tape her name is included in all of the songs. She thinks that the person talking can really here her!
Now, getting back on track…. After falling into the ocean George is rescued and once again promises that he will not get into any more trouble. Why would an actual child decide this if he/she were in the same situation? They would act this way because they would be thinking about their own needs. They wouldn’t want to fall into the water again or be upset in any way. This is an example of stage two, the preconventional stage, pleasure-seeking orientation.
In conclusion, I have found these stages to hold true, in my own personal life, and in children’s storybooks. It’s really great to finally understand why my little sister acts the way she does!