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Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development

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Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development Jean Piaget is a Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. Piaget believed that children play an active role in the growth of intelligence. He regarded children as philosophers who perceive the world as he or she experiences it (ICELS). Therefore in Piaget’s most prominent work, his theory on the four stages of cognitive development, much of his inspiration came from observations of children. The theory of cognitive development focuses on mental processes such as perceiving, remembering, believing, and reasoning. Through his work, Piaget showed that children think in considerably different ways than adults do and as such he saw cognitive development as a progressive reorganization of mental processes resulting from maturation and experience (1973). To explain this theory, Piaget used the concept of stages to describe his development as a sequence of the four following stages: sensory – motor, preoperational, concrete operations, and formal operations. There are three elements however to understanding his theory of cognitive development. They are schema, the fours process that enable transition from on stage to another, and finally the four stages themselves.
He began his studies by making naturalistic observations. Piaget made careful, detailed observations of children, typically his own children or their friends, from these he wrote diary descriptions charting their development. He also conducted clinical interviews and observations of older children who were able to understand questions and hold conversations (McLeod 2009). Based off these observation Piaget laid the ground work for his theories on cognitive development starting with the schema. A schema is the basic building block of intelligent behavior, a form of organizing information that a person uses to...

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