Family & Parenting Guide

Different stages involved in Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Swiss scientist Jean Piaget is known for formulating the Theory of Cognitive Development that dealt with the different stages involved in a child’s logical and reasoning development as he/she grows. Formulated after a series of tests, the theory deals with the different ways in which children of different age groups manage to grasp and handle information. The theory comprises of four stages explained below.

Sensorimotor Stage

This stage lasts from a child’s birth till the time he/she becomes two years old. It deals with the experiences that are gathered through motor activities and sensory stimuli.

In this stage, the child would get most of his/her input by moving around and observing things around him/her. While he/she would more tuned to reflexive actions in the initial days, with time he/she would start becoming more observant with her worldly interactions.

Preoperational Stage

This second stage of cognitive development begins at the age of two. A child at this stage would start understanding basic language and symbols. He/she would start linking objects with images and words.

Imagination and memory would grow with this understanding. At this stage, he/she would also start imitating others in order to get a better understanding of what is going on around him/her.


Concrete Operational Stage

This stage begins at the age of seven. At this stage, the child’s skill set would start expanding significantly, with him/her gaining a better command over language.

He/she would also start exhibiting improvement in traits like conscious logic and rational thinking. With age, he/she would start understanding facts better, like objects that do not change in their fundamental existence even after undergoing a physical change.

Formal Operational Stage

This stage begins at the age of 11. A child at this stage is said to be at the last stage of his/her cognitive development. His/her command on language and logic are total. He/she can easily manipulate abstract thoughts, with ideological and hypothetical notions seeping in at regular intervals. He/she would also start getting a better understanding of his/her thoughts, and would probably start thinking about his/her future. Additional improvements in traits like clarification, evaluation, inference and application can also be noted in this stage.

These four stages of Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development indicate the various age groups in which children tend to develop their cognitive skills. The theory acts as a useful benchmark for parents seeking to identify the periods when different phases of the cognitive development take place in their children.


Swiss scientist Jean Piaget formulated the Theory of Cognitive Development to focus on the differing abilities of children belonging to different age groups. The theory is divided into four stages, which underline the specific developmental activities that take place in a child at specific intervals.


Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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