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The Piaget Stages of Development

Are you familiar with the Piaget stages of development? It describes the stages of normal intellectual development from infancy to adulthood, including thought, judgment, and knowledge. The four stages are as follows:

  • Sensorimotor: birth through ages 18-24 months
  • Preoperational: toddlerhood (18-24 months) through early childhood (age 7)
  • Concrete operational: ages 7-12
  • Formal operational: adolescence through adulthood

Each stage is marked by new intellectual abilities and a more in-depth understanding of the world we live in. It is true that some children may pass through stages at different ages than noted above, or they may show characteristics of more than one stage at a time.

Sensorimotor Stage

During these very early stages, infants are only aware of what is right in front of them. They experiment with their surrounding objects by shaking them, throwing, putting things in their mouth, etc. They learn through trial and error since they do not yet know how things will react. Between 7-9 months, they begin to realize that even if an object is not in sight, it still exists. This is known as object permanence, and it is a sign that memory is developing. Increased cognitive development begins after they start crawling, standing, and walking. Near the end of this stage at 18-24 months, early language development begins.

Preoperational Stage

Children are able to think of things more symbolically in this stage, and their language use becomes more mature. For example, they are able to use one object to represent something else during play. Memory and imagination begin to develop as well. However, the child’s thinking is based on intuition rather than being logical.

Concrete Operational Stage

During this stage, children are able to demonstrate logical reasoning in which they become aware of external events. They start to realize that their own thoughts and feelings are not always the same as everyone else’s. One important development in this stage is reversibility. For example, a child in this stage may be able to recognize that their dog is a Poodle, a Poodle is a dog, and a dog is an animal. They may also understand conservation, such as the concept that if you break a chocolate bar into pieces, it is still the same amount as before. 

Formal Operational Stage

This stage is characterized by the ability to logically use symbols related to abstract concepts like algebra and science. Those in this stage can think about multiple variables, formulate hypotheses, and consider possibilities. They can ponder abstract relationships as well.

Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children

The Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children’s mission is to make meaningful and measurable investments in young children to enable them to achieve their fullest potential. We recognize that incredible brain development occurs during the first five years of life and early childhood experiences build the foundation for future learning. If you are interested in getting involved, contact us today!

A Bright Future for Every Child in Our Community