An Overview of Piaget’s Theory of Baby Development Stages


6 factors affecting physical development in children

In order for a baby to grow into a child, he or she has to undergo several stages of development. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development outlines the stages of development that children undergo mentally. Not only does he try to analyse how children acquire knowledge but he also tries to understand the nature of intelligence which they have.

Baby development stages

The Four Baby Development Stages

He broadly divided it into four baby development stages.

  • Sensorimotor stage: birth to 2 years
  • Preoperational stage: ages 2 to 7
  • Concrete operational stage: ages 7 to 11
  • Formal operational stage: ages 12 and up

According to Piaget, children actively try to navigate through their learning process. As they interact with the things and humans around them, they add to an existing pile of information.

1. The Sensorimotor Stage

During this stage, the infant tries to understand the world around them just through movements and sensations. They learn some basic actions like grasping, looking, listening and sucking. They understand the idea of object permanence which means that they can perceive the existence of things which are not in their sight.

Infants conclude that they are separate individuals and can trigger actions around them. They are largely dictated by their sensory experiences, basic reflexes, and motor responses. They undergo tremendous growth as they move on to the next stage.

2. The Preoperational Stage

During this stage, children begin to develop a symbolic thought process. They realise that they can use words and pictures when trying to represent humans and objects. At this stage, most children tend to be rather egocentric and find it difficult to view a situation from someone else’s perspective.

While their language and thinking skills improve, they still find it easier to think in more concrete terms. The preoperational stage of development sees children become more adept at language. Between the ages of 4 and 7, children develop curiosity and start asking questions about various phenomena.

3. The Concrete Operational Stage

At this stage, children get the skill of thinking logically about events and situations surrounding them. Their thinking skills improve faster because they become logical and organized. However, they still tend to be very concrete about their ideas. They begin to use inductive logic which allows them to draw general conclusions. During this stage, children tend to lose their previous egocentrism.

4. The Formal Operational Stage

In an experiment, Piaget studied the cognitive capabilities of children of different age groups. The children aged 13 and above could understand the relationship between weight and distance properly unlike the younger children. At this stage, children can begin to think in an abstract fashion. They can ponder about hypothetical problems, moral questions, political stances etc.

Piaget’s study is considered a gold standard by many.

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