Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was a Swiss psychologist whose cognitive-developmental theory left a lasting impression on how child development is viewed. He felt that children are not simply empty vessels into which adults pour knowledge (Piaget, 1952). Piaget based much of his theory on his masterful observations of children, and demonstrated many experiments that study how children adapt and react to their world (Vidal, 2000). One of the main points of his theory was that of adaptation (Piaget, 1971). The child’s mind adapts from infancy to childhood to adulthood to achieve a better fit with external reality. Piaget sensed that children construct knowledge actively as they manipulate and interact with their environments. Many of his thoughts and ideas were influenced by his background in biology. This document will provide insight into Piaget’s Stages of Development as well as look at technology that meets the needs of children at specific times during their life.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Preoperational Stage (Two to Seven Years of Age): A child in this stage is egocentric and is beginning to learn the concepts of language. The child is able to think through operations in a single direction.
Concrete Operational Stage (Seven to Ten Years of Age): A child in this stage is able to complete hands-on (concrete) activities in a logical order such as classifying and sequencing objects. The law of conservation is also comprehended at this point.
Accommodation: The act of comprehending new experiences by integrating old schema into a new object.
Schema: The framework that exists in a person’s mind to organize and interpret information.
Piaget, Jean: The Swiss psychologist (1896-1980) who created the cognitive-developmental theory which has four main levels of child development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational.
Formal Operations Stage (Eleven Years of Age and Beyond): A child in this stage is able to solve abstract questions and problems in a logical and scientific fashion. They also begin to think about an identity in relationship to social issues.
Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to Two Years of Age): A child in this stage is an infant who is just beginning to utilize object permanence, wherein the child knows that an object does not stop existing because it is not seen. The child tends to think through doing and this is often in the form of imitation.
Adaptation: Adaptation is learning that takes place through assimilation and accommodation.
Assimilation: Changes in existing ways of thinking that are in response to encounters with new stimuli or events by integrating a new object into an old schema.