What Are The 4 Stages of Cognitive Development?

The first five years of your child’s life are crucial for this is the time they go through important stages of development. 

Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget says there are 4 stages in cognitive development of children. Cognition refers to how one thinks, explores, and makes meaning of things.

Piaget’s theory emphasises on understanding how children acquire knowledge along with understanding the nature of intelligence. 

These stages are: 

  1. Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years

In this stage infants interact and learn about the world through movements and sensations such as grasping, sucking, looking, and listening. They also learn that they are separate from the objects and people around them. As a parent, you must make sure you let your baby explore as much as they can in a safe manner.

  1. Preoperational stage: ages 2 to 7

This is an exciting time for parents, because your kids will start speaking and identify pictures that represent objects. Children become very good with pretend playing at this time, so you will definitely be introduced to some imaginary friends! Sing and read to your child at this age. Another way to encourage growth is by exposing them to books that have lots of pictures and puzzles.

  1. Concrete operational stage: ages 7 to 11

This stage is important for logic formation in a child. During this stage they also begin to understand how other people view a situation and that it might be different from their own view. Children also begin to understand that their thoughts are unique to them and that others think differently. They are bound to have many ‘why’ questions in this stage. Encourage and answer these to the best you can.

  1. Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up

Adolescent children start thinking of hypothetical and abstract ideas in this stage. The moral, philosophical, ethical, and social sides of things begin to appear to them. They also start using deductive logic or reasoning that comes from a certain principle.

You can help strengthen growth in this stage, by asking your child to explore a particular situation from different aspects. Have conversations with them that open their mind to the diversity of opinions and thought. 

Children are constantly investigating and experimenting to deepen their understanding of the world around them, do your part and make this a journey full of learning for them.

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