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Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development In Children. Presentation By: Miriam Anderson Peggy Belgrave Penny Lane Richard Michalek. Piaget’s Background. Born: August 9, 1896 Died: Sept. 16, 1980 Birth Place: Neuchatel, Switzerland Education: Received PhD from University of Neuchatel

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piaget s theory of cognitive development in children

Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive DevelopmentIn Children

Presentation By:

Miriam Anderson

Peggy Belgrave

Penny Lane

Richard Michalek

piaget s background
Piaget’s Background
  • Born: August 9, 1896
  • Died: Sept. 16, 1980
  • Birth Place:
    • Neuchatel, Switzerland
  • Education:
    • Received PhD from University of Neuchatel
  • Married in 1923 to Valentine Chatenay and bore 3 children
  • (Piaget, 1952)
the beginning
Piaget was interested in the study of knowledge in children.

He administered Binet’s IQ test in Paris and observed that children’s answers were qualitatively different.

Piaget’s theory is based on the idea that the developing child builds cognitive structures (schemes used to understand and respond to physical environment).

He believed the child’s cognitive structure increased with development (Brainerd,1978).

The Beginning
genetic epistemology
Epistemology is the study of knowledge

Genetic is development

Definition of Genetic Epistemology

Study of developmental changes in the process of knowing and in the organization of knowledge.

Piaget wanted to know how children learned through their development in the study of knowledge.

He was considered a structuralist

Structuralism: the relationship between the parts and the whole (Brainerd,1978; Piaget, 1952).

Genetic Epistemology
  • Clinical
    • Interviews
    • Interaction with the child
  • Behavioral Observations
    • Watched kids in their natural environment.
    • Put down what represented his idea, he was biased (Brainerd, 1978).
characteristics of piaget s stages
Characteristics of Piaget’s Stages
  • Each stage is a structured whole and in a state of equilibrium
    • The stages are qualitative within the structures and quantitative between structures
  • Each stage derives from the previous stage and incorporate and transform to prepare for the next
    • No going back
characteristics continued
Characteristics Continued

3. The stages follow an invariant sequence.

  • There is no skipping stages.

4. The stages are universal.

  • Culture does not impact the stages. Children everywhere go through the same stages no matter what their cultural background is.
characteristics continued8
Characteristics Continued
  • Each stage is a coming into being.
    • There is a gradual progression from stage to stage (Brainerd, 1978).
stages of development
Stages of Development
  • Piaget’s theory identifies four developmental stages and the processes by which children progress through them.
  • The four stages are:

1. Sensorimotor Stage (birth to 24 months)

2. Preoperational Stage (2-7 years old)

3. Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years old)

4. Formal Operational Stage (11-15 years old)

(Brainerd, 1978).

sensorimotor stage
Sensorimotor Stage
  • In this period, intelligence is demonstrated through motor activity without the use of symbols.
  • Knowledge of the world is limited (but developing) because it is based on physical interactions and experiences.
  • Some symbolic abilities are developed at the end of this stage.
6 stages of sensorimotor stage
Modification of reflexes (0-1months)

Strengthens and differentiates reflexes

Primary Circular Reaction (1-4 months)

Circular pattern of having a stimulus and responding

Focus is on own body

3. Secondary Circular Reaction (4-8 months)

Focus is on the outside world

4. Coordination of Secondary Schema (8-12 months)

Goal oriented behavior

Apply ability to other things

6 Stages of Sensorimotor Stage
6 stages continued
6 Stages Continued

5. Tertiary Circular Reaction (12-18 months)

  • Active potential
  • Explore object’s potential

6. Invention of New Means through Mental Combinations (18-24 months)

  • Child moves from overt to covert thoughts
  • The child can use mental representation instead of physical objects (Piaget, 1952; Brainerd, 1978).
preoperational stage 2 7 years old
Preoperational Stage(2-7 years old)
  • In this period, intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols.
  • Language use matures.
  • Memory and imagination are developed.
  • Thinking is done in a non-logically nonreversible manner
  • Ego centric thinking predominates
pre operational stage continued
Semiotic Function

Language develops

Uses symbols to represent ideas

Verbal and written language develops


It is all about them

They can not differentiate between themselves and the world

Rigidity of Thought

Centration: focus on one aspect of an object

Semi-logical Reasoning

They get the general idea

Limited social cognition

Pre-Operational Stage Continued
preoperational stage continued
Preoperational Stage Continued
  • Morality of Constraint
    • No bending of the rules
  • Morality of Co-Operation
    • They bend the rules a little bit
concrete operational stage 7 11 years
Concrete Operational Stage (7-11 years)
  • Operation: internalized action part of organized structure.
  • Mentally carried out actions
  • Intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects.
  • Egocentric thought diminishes.
  • Operational thinking develops.
concrete operational stage cont d
Piaget’s Water Conservation Task

Consist of two beakers of different sizes, one with water

Demonstrates the following:

Reversibility-pour water in beaker of different size and realize that it is still the same amount.

Compensation- even though one beaker is taller than the other, water is higher because the glass is thinner

Addition and subtraction

Starts out with liquid, then mass, then space

Concrete Operational Stage Cont’d
formal operational stage 11 15 years old
Formal Operational Stage (11-15 years old)
  • Intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts.
  • There could be a return to egocentric thought early in the period.
  • Many people do not think formally during adulthood.
  • Many people do not make it to this stage.
formal operations continued
Formal Operations Continued
  • Children formulate hypothesis by taking concrete operations and generate hypothesis about logical relations
  • Pendulum Swing
    • The process is more important than the solution (Piaget, 1952; Brainerd, 1978).
cognitive equilibrium
Cognitive Equilibrium
  • Balance between organization and adaptation
    • Always organized can lead to little or no growth
    • Always adapting can lead to little or no knowledge (Piaget, 1952; Brainerd, 1978).
cognitive adaptation
Cognitive Adaptation
  • Allows the child to erect more and more cognitive structures through either
    • Assimilation: fit reality into current cognitive organization
    • Accommodation: adjust cognitive organization to fit reality (Piaget, 1952; Brainerd, 1978).
how piaget s theory impacts learning
How Piaget’s Theory Impacts Learning
  • Curriculum: Educators must plan a developmentally appropriate curriculum that enhances their student’s logical and conceptual growth.
  • Instruction: Teachers must emphasize the critical role that experiences, or interactions with the surrounding environment play in student learning (Bybee & Sund, 1982).
  • Brainerd, C. (1978). Piaget’s theory of intelligence. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
  • Bybee, R. & Sund, R. (1982). Piaget for educators (2nd Ed.). Columbus, OH: Charles Merrill.
  • Piaget, J. (1952). Autobiography. In E. Boring (ed) history of psychology in autobiography (4). Worcester, MA: Clark University Press.