What are Jean Piaget's developmental theories?


Quick Answer

Jean Piaget's developmental theories revolve around cognitive development and the idea that childhood plays a vital and active role in a person's development. His theory of cognitive development involves four stages, the sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational period.

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Full Answer

Piaget's theory of cognitive development is influential within the field of child psychology, particularly in educational theory. It has been used as the basis for scheduling school curricula and the development of teaching strategies.

The first of the four stages, the sensorimotor stage, occurs between birth and two years of age. In this stage, children can differentiate themselves from objects and realize that things continue to exist even when no longer present.

The preoperational stage occurs between two and seven years of age. Here, children learn to use language and to represent objects by images and words. However, children do not yet understand concrete logic and cannot mentally manipulate information.

The concrete operational stage occurs between seven and 11 years of age. The stages are characterized by the appropriate use of logic. Children can also classify objects according to several features and can order them in series along a single dimension such as size.

The formal operational period occurs from the age of 11 into adulthood. In this stage, abstract thought emerges. Problem-solving skills are demonstrated when children use trial-and-error.

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