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Child's Developmental Stages

According to Jean Piaget (2014), a child experience experiences four cognitive developmental stages, they are: Sensorimotor Stage, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal operational stage (Argosy University, 2014).

Sensorimotor Stage:

Based on Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory, this stage starts from birth until the child is two years old. During that stage a child is equipped with a set of reflex movements combined with a set of perceptual movement systems. At that stage, the child quickly begins to build up direct knowledge of the world around him/her (Argosy University, 2014).

Preoperational Stage:

This stage start between the age of two and continues until the child turns 7 years old. The key feature of that stage is egocentrism. According to Piaget, a child’s thoughts and communications are typically egocentric. This means, at that stage the child doesn’t have the ability to see situations from others’ point of view. According to Piaget, during that stage the child assumes that other people see, hear, feel, and understand things exactly the way he/she does (Argosy University, 2014).

Concrete Operational Stage:

This stage starts from 7 to 11 years old. According to Piaget, this stage is mainly mark by conversation and it’s a major turning point in the child’s life and his/her cognitive development, due to the fact that it marks the beginning of logical or operational thoughts. At that stage, a child becomes less egocentric and gets better at conversations and communicating (Argosy University, 2014).

Formal Operational Stage:

This stage starts from 11 and above. during that stage, the child becomes an adolescent and gains the ability to think in an abstract manner, he/she develops the capacity to combine and classify items in a more sophisticated way, while his/her ability to reason gets better. Key features of that stage are the child’s ability to manipulate ideas in head and his/her ability to reason abstractly (Argosy University, 2014).

I believe whether as a parent, a teacher, or juvenile judge it’s important to understand the cognitive stage in which a child is or operating in order to avoid misunderstanding and frustration based on the reaction the child may have according to his/her stage. For example, a child who is in his preoperational stage might seem to be very selfish and don’t think about other people’s feeling. Such a situation can easily escalate to frustration, anger, and punishment. But if whether the parent or the teacher is aware of the key features of that child’s stage, he/she will have a much better understanding on his/her action.

In my opinion, the most important aspects of these development models parents, teachers, or juvenile judges should be aware of are as I mentioned, the key features. This means, what characterize each stage and the child’s cognitive ability.


Argosy University (2014). Human Development across the Life Span. Piaget’s Insight into Mental Development. Data Retrieved on 12/20/2014, from:

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