Cognitive development in children psychology is a theory that holds to the idea that the intellectual growth of children and their ability to form relationships progresses through a series of stages. In all children this stages follow a fixed order though the range in age can vary from one child to the other. Perhaps the most acknowledge theorist in cognitive development is Jean Piaget who emphasizes the following order; Sensorimotor, Preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational stages which follow each other respectively.
In the Sensorimotor stage occurring between births up to two years of age infants acquire and understand information through their senses enabling them to interact with the environment. Though they can manipulate objects at this stage they cannot understand that when objects are removes from their view they still continue to exist. This is because the child does not understand permanency of objects that are without its current sensory perception. This is only learnt later in this stage (Weiner, 2003).
The Pre-operational stage between age two to seven follows suit. Here children acquire language where they now use images and words to interact with their environment. The stage is characterized by egocentrism since children believe that everyone does perceive the world in the same way that they do hence cannot understand differences in perception.
In the Concrete operational stage between ages seven and twelve egocentrism is gradually lost as the ability to derive a variety of aspects in a stimulus is acquired. Grouping of things is now acquired as they can clearly associate a smaller concept to a bigger concept of the same kind. The Formal operations stage from age twelve and beyond ties the knot. Children develop views of the world that are more abstract. Application of conservation and reversibility to situations real or imagined is now possible. The idea of cause and effect in the world becomes clearer and by teenage they have the ability to develop individual theories in regard to the world (Weiner, 2003).
The theory of cognitive development strikes me as quite true. Though some children’s cognition develops much faster than others explaining differences in intelligence, the stages of development are quite the same. The difference only comes in due to the social context that these children grow in. This governs the learning experiences that they are exposed to as cognitive development depends on the accumulation of knowledge in order to be able to develop associations. The extent to how developed the mental structures are during birth is also an important factor that I consider crucial to a child’s cognitive development. Though children are born with innate mental structure the extent of their development and level of maturity during birth determine how fast a children acquire knowledge and hence their progression in the different stages. Even though a child might take long in getting through one stage its successful completion determines the beginning of the next stage.
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