Theory of Cognitive Development and Children

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Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget was born on August9, 1896, in the French speaking part of Switzerland. At an early age he developed an interest in biology, and by the time he had graduated from high school he had already published a number of papers. After marrying in 1923, he had three children, whom he studied from infancy. Piaget is best known for organizing cognitive development into a series of stages- the levels of development corresponding too infancy, childhood, and adolescence. These four stages are labeled the Sensorimotor stage, which occurs from birth to age two, (children experience through their senses), the Preoporational stage, which occurs from ages two to six, (motor skills are acquired), the Concrete Operational stage, which occurs from ages six to eleven, (children think logically about concrete events), and the Formal Operational stage, which occurs after age eleven, (abstract reasoning is developed here). ( (Bee and Boyd 149). The focus of this paper will be on the Preoporational stage and how the child's cognitive abilities develop according to Piaget.

The Preoperational stage is Piaget's term for the second major stage of cognitive development. It is in this stage that Piaget states that children acuire symbolic schemes, such as language and fantasy, that they use in thinking and communicating. Piaget saw evidence of symbol use in many aspects of children aged two to six. As a Pre-School teacher myself, I have witnessed many of the same behaviors that Piaget himself observed while developing his theory of cognitive development. Children this age begin to pretend in their play. The dramatic play area in my classroom is always one of the most busy areas of the room. The children love to role-play and create imaginary games. According to Piaget, such symbol use is also evident in the emergence of language and in the preschoolers primitive ability to understand scale models or...
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