Children grow up really fast, and this growth is not just about their physicality, but mentally as well. Today they will be a toddler, but they turn to a school going child in the blink of an eye. This blink of an eye contains so much such as their mental development, and learning abilities.
Initial years of a child are the most important because he is exploring a new world, learning new words, develops physically as well as mentally. So, it is the best time to boost up a child’s cognitive skills. Continue reading to know more about cognitive skills, and stages of cognitive development.
What is meant by cognitive skills?
The term “cognitive skills” refers to the ability of thinking, problem-solving, reasoning, memorizing, recognizing etc. These skills start to develop at an early stage of childhood and continue throughout.
This term was first introduced and focused upon by a psychologist Jean Piaget. He was the first person who threw light on the intellectual side of children. He said that the only difference between a child and an adult is the way how they think because children are as intelligent as adults. He calls children “little scientists” because children try to make sense out of everything rather than just soaking information. Even Albert Einstein was greatly impressed by Piaget’s theory and called him a genius.
Piaget’s theory of childhood cognitive development:
Piaget presented a theory about the cognitive development of children. He states that children go through some specific stages according to their intellectual abilities and perception of relationships. These childhood stages exist in the same order for every child no matter he belongs to which culture, country or background. He described four stages with exact age list but they may slightly vary from child to child. These stages are discussed below in details.
Four cognitive stages of a child’s development:
The proposed four childhood developmental stages are:
- Sensorimotor period: 0-2 years
- Preoperational period: 2-7 years
- Concrete operational period: 7-11 years
- Formal operational period: 11 and older, until 19 years.
- Sensorimotor period:
The child improves his innate reflexes in this period. In this developmental stage, the child understands the world and tries to bring his sensory experiences with physical activities. Children repeat actions and experiment with their own bodies by hitting their toys, throwing or moving something. A child is also exposed to the world of new words and language. Until two years, they are attracted and fascinated with everything.
- Preoperational period:
This developmental stage is all about a child’s learning and mastering of a language. Although he is not able to understand any kind of logic he still cannot stop himself from getting information. He also is not able to understand other people point of view at this stage.
- Concrete operational Period:
During this stage, a child begins to understand the nitty-gritty of mental operations. Logical thinking also begins to take shape at this stage. But now the abstract and hypothetical concepts become a problem for the child.
- Formal operational period:
Now at this stage, a child is about to enter his teen life. He can mostly understand abstract and hypothetical concepts. Other cognitive skills such as logical and critical thinking, systematic planning, decision making, and deductive reasoning etc. Are also shaped during this period.
As mentioned earlier, the cognitive developmental age may vary from child to child. So, parents should not get worried about a delay of their child. Some periods are more sensitive than others, and according to Piaget it is a continuous process and some children may take more time to reach a certain stage, while others may hit their milestone a bit earlier.
If your child is not following the stages discussed above, it does not mean that he or she will not at all develop their cognitive skills later, or their cognitive abilities cannot be polished and trained by proper support, training and patience.
You also should not forget that a child can talk only about a small world because he is learning to develop in a world where he will be more independent in future. You as a parent can reinforce skills at home and even in school if you notice any kind of delay because a slight delay does not at all mean that your child has any disability or serious issue.
Mark Stanley is the author of this article. He is a psychologist and speech therapist. He also writes blogs and articles for Assignment Service spreading awareness about different issues.