Four Stages of Cognitive Development as Formulated by Jean Piaget are: 1. Sensori-Motor Stage 2. Preoperational Stages 3. Concrete Operational Stage 4. Formal Operations Stage.
1. Sensori-motor Stage:
This stage ranges from birth to 2 years. During this stage, the child interacts with his environment through sensory and motor activities. It learns to improve its movements through trial and error.
There will not be any language or cognitive (thinking) activities. The child develops object performance i.e., the idea that objects continue to exist when we no longer see them (even parents are objects during this period).
2. Preoperational Stage:
This stage ranges from 2-7 years. During this stage the child learns language, and sensory-motor operations are replaced by words. His interactions with people and objects will be through language.
His thought process at this stage usually displaces a high degree of ego-centricism, means an inability to take the point of view of another person; animism- the belief that inanimate objects which have certain characteristics of living things are, in fact alive. These children do not understand cause-effect relationships very well. They tend to see unrelated events and objects as casually related to one another.
3. Concrete Operational Stage:
This stage extends from 7-12 years. During this stage children use logic and begin to grasp such important principles of nature such as number, classification and conservation of mass and length. They are unable to think in abstract terms.
Their thought processes are limited to concrete objects and events. Due to influence of social environment, school, peers and teachers there is corresponding expansion in ways of thinking about people. For example, color of hairs as black or gray. She gives me things, etc. In this way child s thinking shows a power and versatility.
4. Formal Operations Stage:
This stage ranges from 12-15 years. In this stage thinking becomes quite adult like. A general feature of this stage is the ability to think in terms of abstract concepts (that are not physically present in nature) that link concrete objects or actions together. The child develops ability to think on scientific basis and find solutions to problems.