Jean Piaget was born in Switzerland in 1896. He lived until 1980 and in his life, developed a basic model or blueprint of "normal" child development. He started out getting a degree in zoology but later changed his path and switched his focus to psychology. While working with testing young Parisians, he became fascinated with child psychology and early cognitive development. His theory consisted of 4 main stages with many sub-stages for each. He based his ideas and theories on the idea that a child builds mental maps, schemes, or networked concepts, which help him or her to both understand and respond to given situations and experiences. Through these experiences, cognitive structure increases in sophistication and complexity. According to Piaget, a child's experiences lay the foundation for any and all psychological development they have. The experiences fit into two categories: first, repeated experiences and second, new or different experiences. If the child were to experience something they had previously experiences, it would fit easily into their cognitive structure and would maintain the "mental equilibrium". However, when a new experience occurred, it would throw off the balance of the equilibrium and cause the cognitive structure to accommodate this new information and would thus be altered. The occurrence of these new experiences and the altering of the cognitive structure is how these structures grow and develop. The four stages Piaget came up with were the sensorimotor (birth to 2 years), preoperational (age 2 to 7), concrete operations (age 7 to 11), and formal operations (age 11 to 15). In the sensorimotor stage, a set of concepts about reality is built but there is still no object permanence, meaning if a toy is shown to the child and then hidden, the child will forget that the toy ever existed. The preoperational stage is when the child has object permanence but still need concrete physical situations to understand and has no...
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