If a parent repeatedly calls a child a certain name, then connections form that allow the child to recognize that name over time and he or she will begin to respond to that name (Brotherson, 2005). Through repetitive experiences the axons and synapse strengthen causing learning to take place. The brain is divided into four major lobes: the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and the temporal lobe. Each lobe contributes to cognitive development in young children.
Piaget describes that children within the sensorimotor intelligence stage use their senses and motor abilities to understand the world around them (Gormly, 1997, p.168). Toddlers begin to understand that an object still exists even when it is out of sight (Berger, 2011, p. 45). Towards the end, the child develops a thought before action process, moving from random acts to making choices with some thought process behind it (Nagy, 2015, p.369). The transition to the preoperational stage presents an increase in representational activity. This stage spans from two to seven years of age (Nagy, 2015, p.369).
During the embryonic stage the zygote has become an embryo and the organs and major body systems form and develop very rapidly. This is one of the most critical periods for physical development, the embryo is very sensitive to many different types of influences. The third and final stage of the gestational period is the fetal stage, this stage starts at eight weeks and ends at birth. During this stage the fetus grows approximately twenty times its previous length and the organs and body systems continue to develop becoming more complex and becomes ready for survival outside of the womb. Children grow the fastest during the first three years of their life, and they will never grow this rapidly again.
At this stage, children's outlook is essentially self-centred as they are unable to take into account others' points of view. The second stage of development lasts until around seven years of age. Children begin to use language to make sense of reality. They learn to sort objects using different criteria and to influence numbers. Children's increasing linguistic skills open the way for greater socialization of action and communication with others.
His theory considers that the child passes through 4 stages. The first stage is the sensorimotor stage (birth to age 2). This is when the child learns the world through movements and sensations. They also learn about object permanence (that a thing continues to exist even when it cannot be seen). The child learns that they are separate from the people and objects that are around them and that their actions cause things to happen.
Piaget’s goes like this: First, the Sensorimotor Period (birth to 2 years), Second, Preoperational Thought (2 to 7 years), third, Concrete Operations (6 to 12 years), and last, Formal Operations (11 years to adult). During the Sensorimotor Period children learn that their actions make things happen, and that even things that cannot be seen still exist. During the Preoperational Thought stage children are learning how to interpret words and make something out of the pictures they look at. However, in her article, A Summary of Piaget’s Stages, Kendra Cherry states that “while they are getting better with language and thinking, they still tend to think about things in very concrete terms.” (Cherry, 2016). This means that they may still need to be told the same thing multiple times or be reassured when they are doing the right thing.
Towards the end of the sensorimotor stage, children obtain object permanence, the object still exists when not in sight. The preoperational stage continues on until age 7. This stage is crucial to the child’s ability to use words, images, and symbols to represent the world. Children in this stage exhibit egocentrism, not understanding events from other’s perspectives. The child experiences irreversibility, the inability to reverse sequences, and centration, the tendency to focus on only one aspect.
In this stage, infants progressively construct knowledge and understanding of the world by coordinating experiences with physical interactions with objects. Infants gain knowledge of the world from the physical actions they perform within it. They progress from reflexive, instinctual action at birth to the beginning of symbolic thought toward the end of the stage. Piaget believed that children’s knowledge of the world was organized into schemas, structured patterns of knowledge and action. A schema allows an individual to make sense of the world as scheme are experiences, memory, and information.
Piaget’s Stages of Development The sensorimotor stage takes place between birth and two years of age. Infants utilise all their senses to explore and learn. In this way, tactile experiences and motor development promote cognitive development. Babies’ physical actions, such as sucking, grasping, and hitting, enable them to build scheme about their environment. Movements are random at first.
This stage leads to an understanding of object permanence. The next stage is preoperational which last from two to seven years old. Children in this stage continue to develop language and thinking skills which are acts of symbolic representations. Children in this stage are unable to distinguish that the change in appearance does not equal a change in quantity. Next is the concrete operational stages which continues between the ages of seven and twelve.