4 Major Stages Of Cognitive Development In Children & Early Childhood

Cognitive Development In Children

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Children grow up fast. They turn from a helpless baby to a naughty preschooler in a blink of an eye! But in that blink, there is so much that happens inside your child’s mind!

Early childhood is the time when a baby grows not just physically, but also mentally. In fact, the initial years are the best time to boost your kid’s cognitive skills. Read on to know what is cognitive development in children and its 4 major stages.

What Are Cognitive Skills?

Cognitive abilities refer to a person’s memory, reasoning, problem-solving and thinking skills. The process starts in early childhood and continues throughout childhood.

It was psychologist Jean Piaget who first shed some light on the intellectual development of children. According to him, children are as intelligent as adults. The only difference is how they think. Even Albert Einstein was blown away by Piaget’s theory and said that only a genius could have thought of a theory so simple yet amazing as this!

Piaget came up with a theory that described the cognitive development of children. He referred to children as ‘little scientists’. According to him, children try to make sense of the world and do not soak up information passively.

[ Read: Stages of Intellectual Development In Children ]

Stages Of Cognitive Development:

When it comes to child cognitive development, there are some stages each person goes through. Here are the major stages of cognitive development in children:

1. The Sensorimotor Stage:

Until two years of age, the world around an infant fascinates her. Her sensory perceptions and motor activities drive her whole idea of the world. (1)

[ Read: Number Activities For Kids ]

2. The Preoperational Stage:

The period between ages two and seven years is the Preoperational stage, when a child learns to master a language. A child is unable to understand the concept of logic during this period and cannot control information. It is also the stage when a child is not capable of understanding the point of view of other people. (2)

3. The Concrete Operational Stage:

A child between the ages of eight and ten years begins to understand the nitty-gritty of mental operations. Logical thinking begins to take shape during this amazing stage. But abstract and hypothetical concepts remain a problem for children in this stage. (3)

4. The Formal Operational Stage:

The period between age eleven and adulthood is the time when children finally begin to grasp abstract concepts. Cognitive abilities such as logical thinking, deductive reasoning, and systematic planning also take shape during this period. (4)

[ Read: Shape Learning Activities For Kids ]

Cognitive Development And Early Childhood Education:

Early childhood usually refers to the period between birth and five years of age (5). A child begins to build basic cognitive skills such as pre-reading, language, vocabulary, and numeracy right from the time of birth. Even before babies can speak, they begin to develop a basic understanding of the language.

In fact, studies show a direct link between early exposure to education and the level of success one experiences as an adult (6). That is why it is important to expose young babies to stimuli that will help develop their cognitive abilities.

A child who can maneuver building blocks at the age of six months is more likely to develop good language skills by the age of two or three years. And the same child will be at a better position to start developing reading abilities between four and five years of age.

Tips To Help Your Child Develop Cognitive Abilities In Early Childhood:

Wondering how to help your baby improve physical and cognitive development in early childhood? Look no further! Here is a handy guide to help you along.

1. Building Blocks:

Let your baby have fun with building blocks. Babies as young as six months old can learn to use these blocks and slowly build their cognitive skills.

2. Puzzles:

When your baby is a little older, you can introduce her to puzzles! It is a great way to develop her problem-solving skills.