Monthly Archives: February 2011

Piaget & Cognitive Development

It’s embarrassing that this is a website has the words PLAY and LEARN and is a website for parents about child development and I have not yet written about Jean Piaget.  My apologies.

Piaget studied how children’s minds work and develop and he is most known for his stages of cognitive development. Below I have described very basic points of Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development (how children learn).  Note that research has found that in some instances, young children can master concepts in higher stages than Piaget originally thought, but his stages still provide a good example of how children’s cognitive capabilities differ in general.

Here is a website that also provides examples of how each of these concepts can be tested with children.

Stage 1: Sensorimotor Period (ages 0-2)

  • Child learns about the world through senses and motor skills
  • Children use skills they are born with like sucking, grasping, listening, and touching to learn about the world around them
  • Achieves Object Permanence: this just means that during this stage the child begins to understand that things exist even if they are not within the child’s sight, touch, etc.  ( 8-9 mos).

Stage 2: Preoperational Period (ages 2-7)

  • Boost in language development
  • Will begin using objects as symbols, for example a child will  use a step stool and pretend it’s a car.
  • Egocentric thought.  Child is unable to understand that other people see the world differently from him.  For example, child will cover his eyes and think that you cannot see him.

Stage 3: Concrete Operational Period (age 7-11)

  • Begins to think logically about objects and events. Classic example, if you give a child one large and skinny class of water and one short and wide class of water and ask which has more, the child can begin to understand that they have the same amount of water despite what it “looks like”. Great example video Here

Stage 4: Formal Operational Period (age 11-adulthood)

  • Begin to understand logic
  • Can consider other perspectives and hypothetical thinking
  • Understand reversibility

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