Piaget studied the psychological development of children for a long time and later came up with a profound cognitive theory of development. According to the theorist, there are key development stages that a child passes through before graduating to adulthood. However, Piaget entirely concentrated on the intellectual growth and development of children from the early stage of life.
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In his assessment, he explored aspects such as knowledge, judgment, and thought. The theorist outlined four key phases of development. Each of the development stages was also assigned a particular age range. From birth to about the age of two years, a child goes through the sensorimotor phase of development (Commons & Pekker, 2008).
After this stage, a child transits to the preoperational phase up to the age of seven years. From about seven to 12 years, the concrete operational stage is witnessed. The last development stage is referred to as the formal operational phase (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2013). The latter stage runs from puberty through adolescence and eventually to early adulthood.
It is prudent to mention that Piaget also remembered to make vital clarifications regarding the theory. The above age limits may differ from one child to another. In addition, it is possible for some children to demonstrate the overlapping characteristics of the bordering stages of development. From Piaget’s theory, we can acknowledge the reason why the intellectual abilities of children vary with age.
The theorist asserted that the cognitive ability of a child during the infancy stage is mainly restricted to objects that can be seen in the immediate environment. The latter characteristic is common during the sensorimotor stage. Children tend to give a lot of focus to visual objects within their presence.
The theory also assists in understanding the overall behavioral characteristics of children when they are infants. For instance, some children throw or shake things around during the sensorimotor stage. In other words, children do not demonstrate any form of targeted focus because they are occupied by any object or experience within their surrounding (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2013).
Early language development is also another milestone for children in this stage. They begin to acquire simple speech in spite of difficulties. However, children are able to relate to the real world symbolically during the preoperational stage of development. They also make positive progress in terms of language development.
Logical, concrete reasoning is most evident during the concrete operational stage. Nonetheless, children in this pre-adolescent stage cannot handle challenges with multiple variables in a chronological manner. The formal operational stage marks the full intellectual development of a child.
The knowledge acquired from Piaget’s theory can be used by educators and policymakers in the education sector to formulate the best curriculum for children. For example, educators can employ the Piaget’s theory to devise the most effective teaching strategies for their students based on the different stages of cognitive development.
In addition, it is not proper to make use of abstract knowledge unless children have attained the last phase of development. When teaching infants, it may be necessary to use appropriate learning aids that are compatible with their development phase. For instance, objects that smell, taste, or can be touched are relevant for use as teaching aids.
Finally, most of the contemporary media advertisements are designed with the above theory in mind (Commons & Pekker, 2008). When a particular age group is being targeted, the most appealing advert is developed. Generally, media adverts are constructed based on the various development phases.
Commons, M. L. & Pekker, A. (2008). Presenting the formal theory of hierarchical complexity. World Futures: Journal of General Evolution, 65(1-3), 375-382.
McDevitt, T. M., & Ormrod, J. E. (2013). Child development and education (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Pearson