Swiss Psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was one of the
most influential cognitive psychologists. He studied children's
thinking and developed a theory that outlined 4 stages, or
patterns of thinking in children's development.
Sensorimotor Stage (Age 0-2)
The main goal of this stage is developing object
permanence. This means children know
an object is there even if they can't see it.
For example, children are able to search
for an object behind their parents' back.
Preoperational Stage (Age 2-7)
The main goal of this stage is symbolic
thought, or being able to attach meaning to
objects with language.
Concrete Operational (Age 7-11)
The main goal of this stage is operational
thought. This is when children can solve
problems without encountering them in the
Children in this stage can also
better understand the views of
others and work better in
Formal Operational (Age 11+)
The main goal of this stage is to be able to think
abstractly, systematically, and hypothetically.
For example, this stage allows
children to better learn topics like
Source: Eggen, P. & Kauchak D. (2020). Using
Educational Psychology in Teaching. Pearson