Piaget is best known for his stages of cognitive development
Jean Piaget discovered that children think and reason differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that everyone passed through a sequence of four stages. Although every normal child passes through the stages in exactly the same order, there is some variability in the ages of the children at each stage.
Congnitive Theory A Revolutionary Idea
Jean Piaget was a child psychologist, professor, author, and biologist. Though he had many academic interests, his primary focus was the child psyche. He did a lot of research in the area of child psychology and his conclusion is what is known as Piaget's Stages of Mental Development. He recognizes four main stages in a child's life:
the Sensorymotor Stage (ages: birth to two),
the Preoperational Stage (ages: 2-7),
the Concrete Operational Stage (ages: 7-12), and
the Formal Operational Stage (ages: 12-15).
The Sensorymotor Stage, says Piaget, is when infants and babies are more concerned with learning about the physical world, objects, and their own physical development. The Preoperational Stage is when a child is learning and developing verbal skills, including reading and writing. The Concrete Operational Stage is when a child is beginning to understand abstract concepts, such as numbers and relationships. And, finally, the Formal Operational Stage is when a child "begins to reason logically and systematically" ("Jean Piaget").
Piaget's Stages of Mental Development
His Early Life
Jean Piaget was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, on August 9, 1896.
As a child he was very indpendent and took an early interest in nature, especially the collecting of shells. He attended After high school and after attended the University of Neuchâtel. Constantly studying and writing, he became sickly, and had to retire to the mountains for a year to recuperate. When he returned to Neuchâtel, he decided he would write down his philosophy.
After receiving a degree in zoology from the Univ. of Neuchâtel in1918, Piaget's interests shifted to psychology. He studied under C. G. Jung and Eugen Bleuler in Zürich, and then in Paris at the Sorbonne. He worked with Alfred Binet in the administration of intelligence tests to children. In reviewing the tests, Piaget became interested in the types of mistakes children of different ages were making.
After returning to Switzerland in 1921, Piaget began to study the reasoning processes of children at various ages; which lead him to developing his Cognitive Theory. By the end of his career, he had written over 60 books and many hundreds of articles. He died in Geneva, September 16, 1980, one of the most significant psychologists of the twentieth century.
"Jean Piaget." MSN Encarta. 2009. Microsoft Corporation