Piaget Stages of Cognitive Development in Children

Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:47 -- Umar Farooq


Jean Piaget was born in Switzerland in 1896. After receiving his doctoral degree at age 22, he started work in psychology and education, especially on children intellectual development. According to him children are not less intelligent than adults, children think differently. His Cognitive Development theory describes the stages of cognitive development in children, which involves changes in process and abilities.

Stages of Cognitive Development

Following are the four stages

Sensorimotor Stage (1-2 years)

Sensorimotor stage is from birth to almost 2 years, and is concerned on the infant trying to make sense of the world. In this stage an infant’s knowledge of the world in limited to their sensory perceptions and motor activities. Children use the abilities and skills born with, like grasping, looking, listening and sucking to learn more about the environment.

Pre-Operational stage (2-6 years)

The main characteristics of Pre-operational stage are:

  1. Language development is the most important in this period.
  2. Children can’t take the point of view of other people. They can’t manipulate the information etc.
  3. They pretend the things like use broom as a horse etc.
  4. Role playing also become evident like they play the role of mummy, daddy, doctor, dolls and many others.
  5. Children at this stage can’t give another person perspective.
  6. Less understanding of conservation develops at this stage.

Concrete Operation stage (7-11 years) 

The chief characteristics are:

  1. Logical thinking starts development but can’t understand abstract concepts.
  2. Children at this stage are good in deductive logic than inductive one.
  3. Important things which develops here is the understanding of reversibility. For example a child might be able to recognize that his / her good is Labrador, that Labrador is a dog and that a dog is an animal.

Formal Operational Stage (12 to Adulthood)

The chief characteristics are:

  1. Abstract thinking and concepts ability start development.
  2. Skills like logical thoughts, systematic planning emerge during this stage.
  3. Deductive logic starts progress, which enable a child to understand sciences and mathematics subjects.
  4. Here the children relying on previous experiences, they begin to consider possible outcomes of the actions.
  5. Problems – solving Here they use the ability to solve the problems systematically through logical and methodical way.

We will conclude this article by Piaget words. “The principle of education in the school should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.”