Piaget and the main stages of cognitive development

Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist, epistemologist and biologist who made a great contribution to the study of cognitive development in childhood . He started from a constructivist idea in which he considered that the human being was responsible for his own evolution in learning, although he did not rule out that the environment could also influence it. Its conclusions and studies are considered a theory of evolution that, without a doubt, has allowed the development of many current investigations regarding cognitive development.


The 4 stages of cognitive development according to Piaget


  1. Sensorimotor stage

It is a stage that goes from the birth of the child to two years, approximately. Piaget attributes the child’s exploration of the environment as the main behavior in the evolution of learning. It is an egocentric stage in which, despite this, one begins to understand that other things exist even if they do not get the child’s attention. At this stage the main way of learning is through play, as it is the way in which children explore their environment more easily.


  1. Pre-operational stage

It is the stage of cognitive development that goes from 2 to 7 years, in which the child is still egocentric, but begins to have the ability to put himself in the place of other people. Role-playing and imitation games, as well as fantasies, are more and more frequent at this stage in which it is common for children to want to look like their favorite hero or heroine . However, they will not yet have developed the capacity for abstraction, so they will not be in a position to develop complex and abstract operations.


etapa preoperacional piaget



  1. Stage of concrete operations

The stage of concrete operations ranges from 7 years to 12 years. It is the stage in which children begin to develop logic, as long as they are operations that start from a concrete and not abstract fact. Self-centeredness begins to be left behind and the power of classification of its environment is more precise.


  1. Stage of formal operations

It is the stage of cognitive development that begins from the age of 12 and into adulthood. It is a stage in which the human being already has the ability to reach abstract conclusions, has the power to philosophize, to imagine, to do things for others … Gone are the previous stages, especially that of egocentricity, or at least it is the most frequent although there are always exceptions.


The main criticisms of this theory are based on the fact that the environment has a considerable influence on the learning process . In those environments in which the social and educational system does not force us to think, but rather to accept what exists logically, the learning process of children may be stopped, even though they are in the indicated age groups by Piaget.



Excellent publication, I am a teacher in initial education and I am passionate about these topics,

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I would like to learn how I should be with two autitas children of 5 and 6 years old thanks

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That last paragraph, .. “In those environments in which the social and educational system does not force us to think, but rather to accept what exists in a logical way, the learning process of children can be stopped, despite the fact that found in the age groups indicated by Piaget. ”. Can you provide a scientific basis for this claim?

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Vygotsky, another of the main constructivists, proposes a complementary approach. In essence, it is learned based on others, but it is not a mere presentation of stimuli that will generate responses in infants. Mentions the “zone of proximal development” as “the distance between the actual level of development, determined by the ability to independently solve a problem, and the level of potential development, determined through solving a problem under the guidance of adults. or in collaboration with colleagues ”, who have already built the competition.

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