Summarize Piaget's theory of cognitive development.  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Piaget defined four stages of cognitive development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Piaget developed his theory while observing his own nephew and daughter. Piaget's theory is unique in that, before this time, children were treated just like tiny adults in terms of what they could be taught. Piaget's theory laid the groundwork for age-appropriate education and skill development in children.

In the sensorimotor stage, which lasts from birth to approximately two years of age, children learn that they can manipulate their environment. Children learn by tasting, touching, hearing, and looking. Children also develop object permanence, which means that they know an object continues to exist even if they can no longer see it.

In the preoperational stage, which lasts from two to seven years of age, children can be egocentric and sometimes feel little empathy. They can also use words and pictures to represent objects. This helps the child better...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 578 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team