Sensorimotor, the pre operational stage, the concrete-operational , presentation help

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  • Sensorimotor, which is from birth to two years, is the first stage of cognitive development. This is characterized by the child learning to coordinate their senses with their motor activities.  They grab for objects, manipulate them with their hands and then experience them with their senses.  Do you understand why everything ends up in their mouth? At around 9 months the child develops object permanence. Object permanence is the ability to understand that objects exist even when they cannot be seen.  Piaget thought that this happens because the child is able to form a schema of the objects and this is symbolic thought.
     Prior to that, if a child is playing with a toy and you take it away
    and hide it, the child thinks that it does not exist anymore.  Can you guess why children love to play peek-a-boo and can play it for hours?

Reveal Answer


  • The second stage is the preoperational stage.  It extends from ages two to six.  There is a greater acceleration of language and schema formation than in any other stage.  The child is also egocentric, which means that they can only see the world from their perspective.  They know who “grandma” is but don’t know who their mother’s mother is.  Grandma is grandma and not someone’s mom. They can only see grandma as grandma since it is their perspective.  They also display animism which is thinking that inanimate objects are alive and conscious. They believe that they can talk to and be talked to by their stuffed animals.
  • The third stage is the concrete-operational stage.  It begins around age six and extends to about eleven years old. The child is developing adult like thinking but only with concrete objects.  They are still incapable of abstract thought.
     They also can understand the Laws of Conservation which means that
    they can understand that you can change the shape of matter and not the

Figure 1  Figure 2  

Consider the two figures above.
Each cylinder in Figure 1 holds the same amount of liquid, while each
group of marbles in Figure 2 contains an equal number of marbles.
A child who has not mastered the Laws of Conservation will think that
the tall cylinder in Figure 1 holds more liquid than the shorter
cylinder. That same child will also believe
that the quantity of marbles on the right in Figure 2 is greater than
the quantity of marbles that are on the left. Once children grasp the Laws of Conservation, they finally understand that the quantities are equal, regardless of their shape.

  • The fourth and final stage is the formal-operational stage.  People in this stage can think abstractly.  They can truly understand the meaning of the terms “justice, democracy and love”.
    Ask a child in the pre-operational stage or concrete operational stage
    what love is and they will respond with concrete objects. They would tell you that they love their parents, their teddy bears and chocolate chip cookies. Children in this stage also begin to understand logic as in :

    If A is greater than B and B is greater than C then……….

Piaget has been criticized in that he may have
underestimated the abilities of children and that they may accomplish
some of the tasks earlier.  Also many of the abilities may develop more continuously than in separate distinct stages.  This is the continuity vs. discontinuity debate that was brought up before.


Create a power-point for each of Erickson’s stages
and give the good points of the stage, the bad points of the stage and
interesting things about the stage.  For the ones you have been through reflect on your own development or ask parents and siblings about your experience.
For the ones that you have not been through yet, find someone in that
stage and ask them what is good, bad and interesting about being where
they are in development.  Use pictures and illustrations.

Rubric for Assignment 4-2

Correct explanation of each stage with good, bad and interesting points of the stage 8 points (2 pts for each stage)
Overall effort 4 points

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