During Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, he introduces four different stages that children go through all the way up to adolescents. Piaget states that none of these stages can be skipped. These stages show how a child’s mind is intellectually developing over time as they grow. Their cognitive abilities progress and they begin to have a better understanding of the world around them. Throughout this paper I will explain the four stages of cognitive development; sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational. The first stage of cognitive development that Piaget states is the sensorimotor stage.
This stage is initiated at birth and lasts normally through when the child is 18 months. Everything in this stage is learned from the child exploring different things the best way they know how, whether by putting things in their mouth, or learning how to make the toys move on their play mat. Also, early language development occurs during the early part of this stage such as “coo-ing”. Then language progresses into words towards the later part of this stage where the child starts forming actual words such as “No”, and “Mine”. The second stage of cognitive development is the preoperational stage.
This stage starts around 18 months, and lasts until about the age of 7. Children start being able to grasp symbols. For example, they can draw a series of squares with a triangle on top to represent a house. They also start to learn the alphabet, which is, of course, the set of symbols we use to read and write. On the other hand, they don’t understand abstract concepts like amounts, speed, or weight. In one of Piaget’s most famous experiments, he showed that children at this stage can’t comprehend that if you pour liquid from a short, wide glass into a tall, narrow glass, it’s still the same amount. The third stage of cognitive development is the concrete operational stage. This stage starts around 7, and lasts until 12 years old. In this stage children comprehend ideas like weight, amount, and speed, and can understand that the amount of liquid in the two glasses is the same.
For example, a younger child in this stage would explain what would happen if you hit a glass with a feather based on what he knows about feathers, whereas the older child reasons from the previous statement and answers according to the logic proposed. They can also understand causal relationships; though not necessarily explain the reasoning behind them. The last stage of cognitive development is the formal operational stage. This stage starts after about the age of 12. At this stage children begin to understand abstract concepts and reason logically. If you ask them what “justice” means, they can explain it. In this stage formal operational thinking is being illustrated.