Theophilus K. AShrifie
Dr Stacy Benton
November 24, 2020
Childhood Stage (3-12 years)
Various cognitive, emotional, physical and social features are characterized by childhood stage. These changes are well explained in Piaget’s theory. Piaget developed a child development theory that analyzes the cognitive and emotional development that occurs in babies during birth to adulthood. The theory is divided into four main parts. They include a sensorimotor stage that occurs between births to 2 years, preoperational stage (2-7years), concrete operational stage (7-13 years), and formal operational stage (13-20 years). These are stages that outline cognitive childhood cognitive and emotional development. According to Piaget, there is two nature of intelligence (Ghazi, Ullah & Jan, 2019). They include operative and figurative intelligence. Operative intelligence involves all actions, predicting transformation of objects, personal interest, environment and reflection towards changing reality. On the other hand, figurative intelligence involves perceptions, language, mental images and imitations. He used these arguments to explain cognitive changes that occur when children are born until they become adults. This paper will emphasize only on cognitive changes that occur when a child reaches two years up to 13 years.
Piaget’s Sensorimotor and Preoperational Cognitive Development Stages
Stage One: Adapting to and Exploration of Environment
At this stage, the child gains knowledge of the environment through the use of inborn reflexes. Much of the infant’s actions are mainly associated with performing reflexive actions such as chewing on a toy or sucking at nipples. There is the assimilation of new objects, and new objects are accommodated to respond to new objects. Children also repeat pleasurable actions at this stage. An example of these actions can be evident when a child starts to kick her/his legs against a soft blanket or begin sucking her/his thumb (Kazi & Galanaki, 2019). Also, these can action evident when a child begins to realize when objects disappear. Another way through which reflective activities can be evident is when a child shakes a toy to hear the sound that the toy produces.
Stage Two: Understanding Objects
At this stage, babies engage in more goal-oriented actions. Apart from repeating pleasurable actions, babies will seek for objects in the environment that they want to play with. The child can select objects that best suits their interests. Babies also experiment with new ways to solve problems at this stage. Understanding objects are evident when a child pushes unwanted objects to reach an interesting toy. Another example that shows that a baby understands objects is when he/she picks a stacked block and starts to figure out how to fix it back.
Stage Three: Using Symbols
This is the stage where children begin to show symbolic thoughts. Children start to possess the mental representation of objects. They start to think beyond the things they don’t see or things that are out of their sights. This is the stage when babies are in the process of developing object permanence. Object permanence is an understanding that objects exist even if they cannot be seen (WartellA & Pila, 2020). At this stage, babies utilize language to represent people, objects, and ideas symbolically. When two same glasses containing an equal amount of milk are presented to the child, and then the glasses are changed now it is a tall thin glass, and a shot glasses are used to carry the same milk, the baby will select on the taller glass thinking that it contains more milk.
Stage four: Egocentrism
This is the stage when it becomes difficult to take another person’s perspective. At this stage, babies start to believe in their perspective of viewing things. A baby may be told to choose a color from another person’s point of view, but he/she refuses and insists on the color they perceive beautiful in their perspective. When a child is told to choose a dress for going to church, and the mother selects the color or the type of dress the child is supposed to wear, the child can refuse the color and choose on another one.
Stage Five: Centration
This is the stage that children start to use logic even though they think about things in concrete terms. It is a stage that a child struggles to think about concepts or abstract ideas. Children learn conservation at this stage and begin to understand that milk in a glass remains the same even if it is put into separate glasses. Children also become less egocentric at this stage. They start to recognize other people’s perceptions and also start to learn that people do not see things in the same manner. For instance, when a gift is presented to a child, and it happens those two children are given the same gift. Still, the gifts are in different packages; the child picks any of the gifts without complaining about the color of the package because they already know that the gifts are similar.
Stage six: Appearance as reality
At this stage, children start to utilize logic thinking and use it to solve problems. The children utilize the use of abstract ideas when faced with complex problems in the world in terms of moral and social issues. This is the stage that the child utilizes theoretical and abstract thinking most. At this stage, children solve problems through the use of logic and not with trial and error method as they do in earlier stages (WartellA & Pila, 2020). An example here is when a child can make decisions over morality and social life. The child can decide to remain morally upright or engage in immoral behaviors. A child can also decide whether to engage in substance abuse or to avoid drugs.
The stages propounded by Piaget shows cognitive development that occurs when children grow up. The changes vary with age, and they must be sequential for complete cognitive development. Understanding these stages of cognitive development are crucial because they help us understand our children and relate to their actions as they grow up.
Ghazi, S. R., Ullah, K., & Jan, F. A. (2019). Concrete operational stage of Piaget’s cognitive development theory: An implication in learning mathematics. Gomal University Journal of Research, 32(1), 9-20.
Kazi, S., & Galanaki, E. (2019). Piagetian Theory of Cognitive Development. The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development, 1-11.
WartellA, E., & Pila, S. (2020). Piagetian Accounts of Child Development in Media Research. The International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology, 1-15.