Childhood and Growing up – Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive Development

Childhood and Growing up
Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive Development

Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget born in 1896 was a Swiss psychologist.

Piaget’s early interests were in zoology and he has also done PHD in zoology.

Soon afterward, however, he became interested in psychology, combining his biological training with his interest in epistemology.

It was Piaget’s observations of his own three children that served as the basis for many of his later theories.

Cognitive Development

  • Cognitive development means how children think, explore and figure things out. It is the development of knowledge, skills, problem solving which help children to think about and understand the world around them.
  • Children grow and develop rapidly in their early childhood years across the four main areas of development. These areas are motor (physical), language and communication, cognitive and social/emotional. 
  • Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.

Jean Piaget’s theory

  • Piaget developed his theories by watching his own children and making notes about their progress.
  • According to Jean Piaget theory cognitive development is a process which occurs due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment.
  • The core idea of Piaget’s theory is that children develop by acting as “little scientists” who explore and interact with their world to understand people, objects, and concepts. 

Stages of Jean Piaget’s theory

  • Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development suggests that children move through four different stages of mental development.
  • Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years
  • Preoperational stage: ages 2 to 7
  • Concrete operational stage: ages 7 to 11
  • Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up

Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years

It is the first stage or infancy stage. In this period intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols.

It has further divided into 6 sub stages

Stage of Reflex Actions or activities: (0-30 days)

At this stage the child performs reflex actions only, e.g. sucking an object is the strong activity. The duration of this sub stage ranges from birth to 30 days only.

Stage of Primary Circular Reactions : (1-4 months)

At this stage the reflex actions of the children are changed by their feelings or experience, these are repeated and coordinated to each other. These are the primary or initial reactions of the child’s body. For eg. a child may suck his or her thumb by accident and then later intentionally repeat the action.

Stage of Secondary circular reactions : (4-8 months)

During this substage, the child becomes more focused on the world and begins to intentionally repeat an action in order to trigger a response in the environment. For example, a child will purposefully pick up a toy in order to put it in his or her mouth. 

Stage of coordination of secondary schemata: (8-12 months)

During this sub stage, Children begin exploring the environment around them and will often imitate the observed behavior of others. The understanding of objects also begins during this time and children begin to recognize certain objects as having specific qualities.

Stage of Tertiary Circular Activities (12-18 months)

Children begin a period of trial-and-error method during the fifth sub stage.

Stage of Invention of New means through Mental continuation (18-24 months)

According to Piaget, developing object permanence is one of the most important accomplishments at the sensorimotor stage of development. Object permanence is a child’s understanding that objects continue to exist even though they cannot be seen or heard. Children begin to develop symbols to represent events or objects in the world in the final sensorimotor substage. 

Pre-operational stage (2-7 Years)

  • The pre operational stage can be seen in children ages 2 through 7.
  • Memory and imagination are developing but thinking is done in a non logical manner.
  • Children at this age are egocentric, which means they have difficulty thinking outside of their own viewpoints.
  • The main achievement of this stage is being able to attach meaning to objects with language.

It is further divided into 2 stages
Pre-conceptional stage
Intuitive stage

Pre-conceptional stage

  • The Pre-conceptual sub-stage occurs between the ages of 2 and 4 years.
  • During this period, children often learn by imitation and play.
  • Children consider only their ideas as correct.
  • In this stage, animism is in excess i.e children take non-living objects as living objects.
  • Their thinking and reasoning is quite illogical at this stage.
  • The child sees the world only from his own standpoint.

Intuitive period

  • The Intuitive Thought sub-stage occurs between 4 and 7.
  • During this period his language become mature.
  • Children tend to grow very curious and ask many questions.
  • Children start thinking and logic but it has no sequence.
  • He acquire knowledge by coming in contact with others.
  • Due to mental immaturity, they can focus only one aspect of problem during problem solving. This makes their decision wrong.

Concrete operational stage

  • Piaget marked this stage from 7 to 11 years,
  • During this stage children are more practical and realistic..
  • In this stage intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects.
  • In this stage ego-centric thought diminishes.
  • Children can categorize the objects from different points of view such as sweet things, bitter things, sour things
  • Children start solving the concrete problems but they are not able to solve abstract problems
  • According to piaget, the following capacities are developed Conservation, Numeration, Seriation, classification, Relationship

Stage of formal operation

  • The formal operational stage begins at approximately age twelve and lasts into adulthood.
  • As adolescents enter this stage, they gain the ability to think in an abstract manner by manipulating ideas in their head
  • He/she can do mathematical calculations, think creatively, use abstract reasoning, and imagine the outcome of particular actions.
  • Ego-centric thoughts return in this stage.
  • Thinking acquires order and logic.
  • Problem-solving capacity increases with age.

Thank you of so much for reading

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