The Cognitive processes in infant development encompass the learning, understanding and thinking that lead to skills involved with recognition, communication, and self-concepts related to the environment (Bukatko, 2008). Planning for the developmental objectives of infants around one year of age requires focus on play activities that facilitate the childís ability for identifying, matching, spatial concept and problem solving (Gordon-Biddle et al., 2014). Play is important in helping children achieve mastery of motor control skills, as well as contributing to building emotional and social skills (Bukatko, 2008). Piaget understood play as the way children build knowledge through interacting with an object; describing a process of assimilation and accommodation that helps the child create schema to understand their world (Bukatko, 2008). Whereas, Vygotsky described play to be more of a social construct between two or more children that requires some imaginative efforts (Gordon-Biddle et al., 2014). Despite the somewhat conflicting theories, there is no doubt that young children learn from active interaction and manipulation of the environment.
When planning for an early learning center focused on the 1 year old, exploratory play is the approach that is used in the sensorimotor learning function. Through experiment and discover the infant uses its sensorimotor activity to develop problem solving skills as they reach into the world, testing spatial relationships against the core knowledge of fundamental properties of familiar objects (Bukatko, 2008). Spatial development is facilitated through activities based on manipulating the environment (Bukatk0, 2008). Infants around the age of one need room to move and lots of interesting objects to move towards, to grab onto, shake and bang and pull towards themselves. Object concept and object permanence is built through this type of play, where the child learns to move a toy from one place to another and can look for a toy when it is not in the place the child expects it to be (Bukatko, 2008). Object concept helps the infant to succeed over the A-B error, where memory is built from perceptional cues in the environment (Gordon-Biddle et al., 2014). These perceptional cues are notable in early spatial reasoning, where children can recognize the environment based on, as Piaget describes, sensorimotor activity inside the familiar space within the childís frame of reference (Bukatko, 2008). For instance, an infant rolling a ball against a wall would only perceive the space between the wall and himself. This type of play leads the infant into developing stronger spatial concepts but the learning center will also help the child in developing abstract ideas of objects through challenging the childís schemas to include categories using similar but different objects (Gordon-Biddle et al., 2014). Such as, square blocks that differ in color various shapes that share the same colors. This early classification skill is highly important in the one year old who is developing memory skills through habitual activities of classifying and reclassifying toys (Bukatko, 2008). Moreover, children at this age should be exposed to problem solving activities where they can learn to understand that solutions to one thing may work on another thing (Gordon-Biddle et al., 2014). One can see an example of this type of play with the child who enjoys stacking things; he learns that squares can be stacked while circles cannot be stacked.
Finally, it is the early learnerís physical environment that enhances the age appropriate cognitive developmental stages (Bukatko, 2008). Activities should be conducive to sensorimotor development through enhancing momentum, exploring, pushing & pulling, matching, and stacking (Bukatko, 2008; Gordon-Biddle et al., 2015)




References:
Bukatko, D. (2008). Child and Adolescent Development: A Chronological Approach. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, New York.
Gordon-Biddle, K., Garcia-Nevarez, A., Henderson, & W., Kerrick, A. (2014). Early Childhood Education. Becoming a Professional. SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN: 9781412973458