The stages of cognitive development
Piaget's 'Four levels of development' are
(3) childhood, and
Each stage is characterized by a general cognitive structure that affects all of the child's thinking (a structuralist view influenced by philosopher Immanuel Kant). Each stage represents the child's understanding of reality during that period, and each but the last is an inadequate approximation of reality. Development from one stage to the next is thus caused by the accumulation of errors in the child's understanding of the environment; this accumulation eventually causes such a degree of cognitive disequilibrium that thought structures require reorganizing.
The four development stages are described in Piaget's theory as:
1. Sensorimotor stage: from birth to age 2. Children experience the world through movement and senses (use five senses to explore the world). During the sensorimotor stage children are extremely egocentric, meaning they cannot perceive the world from others viewpoints and explore using senses.
Preoperational stage: from ages 2 to 5 (magical thinking predominates. Acquisition of motor skills) Egocentricism begins strongly and then weakens. Children cannot conserve or use logical thinking.
Concrete operational stage: from ages 5 to 11 (children begin to think logically but are very concrete in their thinking) Children can now conserve and think logically but only with practical aids. They are no longer egocentric.
Formal operational stage: after age 11 (development of abstract reasoning). Children develop abstract thought and can easily conserve and think logically in their mind.