CAVITE STATE UNIVERSITY
Cavite Civic Center Palico IV, Imus, Cavite
(046) 471-66-07 / (046) 471-67-70/ (046) 686-2349
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive
(Facilitating Learning: A Metacognitive Process)
“Piaget called his general theoretical framework “genetic epistemology” because he was
interested in how knowledge developed in human organisms. Piaget was initially into biology
and he also had a background in philosophy. Knowledge from both these disciplines
influenced his theories and research of child development. Out of his researches, Piaget
came up with the stages of cognitive development.”
Ivy Jean C. Siago
Instructor: Mr. Paul Jorel Santos
Jean Piaget’s prominent work is his theory on the four
stages of cognitive development. He was one of the most
influential researchers in the area of developmental
psychology in the 20th century whose primary interest was
in biological influences on how we come to know, and the
developmental stages we move through as we acquire this
ability (Singer & Revenson, 1997, p. 13).
Piaget (1973) believed that the child plays an active role in the
growth of intelligence and learns by doing. He regarded the
child as a philosopher who perceives the world only as he has
experienced it. Therefore, most of Piaget’s inspiration in cognitive and
intellectual development came from observations of children. In fact, Piaget observed and
studied his own three children through each stage of their cognitive development.
The theory of cognitive development focuses on mental processes such as perceiving,
remembering, believing, and reasoning. Reasoning is the essence of intelligence, and
reasoning is what Piaget studied in order to discover “how we come to know” (Singer &
Revenson, 1997, p. 13). Piaget believed that cognitive development is cumulative; that is,
understanding a new experience grows out of a previous learning experience.
Basic Cognitive Concepts
Schema- refers to the cognitive structures by which individuals intellectually adapt to
and organize their environment. It is an individual’s way to understand or create
meaning about a thing or experience.
Assimilation- the process of fitting a new experience into an existing or previously
created cognitive structure or schema
Accommodation –the process of creating new schema.
Equilibration –achieving proper balance between assimilation and accommodation.
Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
Stage 1. Sensory-Motor Stage
(Birth to Infancy)
The stage when the child is initially reflexive
in grasping, sucking and reaching becomes
more organized in his movement and activity.
The ability of the child to know that an object
still exists even when out of sight.
Stage 2. Pre –Operational Stage
(2-7 years old)
can now make mental
representations and is able to pretend, the
child is now ever closer to the use of
The ability to represent objects and events.
A symbol is a thing that represents
something else.(i.e., drawing, written word,
The tendency of the child to only see his
point of view and to assume that everyone
also has his same point of view.
This refers to the tendency of the child to
only focus on one aspect of a thing or event
and exclude other aspects.
The child still has the ability to reverse their
The tendency of the child to attribute human
like traits or characteristics to inanimate
Pre-operational child’s type of reasoning that
is neither inductive nor deductive.
Stage 3. Concrete Operational Stage
This stage is characterized by the ability of
the child to think logically but only in terms of
The ability of the child to perceive the
different features of objects and situations
The child can now follow that certain
operations can be done in reverse.
The ability to know that certain properties of
objects like number, mass, volume or area
do not change even if there is a change in
Refers to the ability to order or arrange things
in a series based on one dimension such as
weight, volume, or size.
Stage 4. Formal Operational Stage
(12-15 years old)
They can now solve abstract problems and
The ability to come up with different
hypothesis about a problem and to gather
and weight data in order to make final
decision or judgment.
The ability to perceive the relationship in one
instance and then use that relationship to
narrow down possible answers in another
similar situation or problem.
The ability to think logically by applying a
general rule to a particular instance or
Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development is a description of cognitive
development as four distinct stages in children: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete, and formal.
Originator: Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
Piaget’s Stage Theory of Cognitive Development
Swiss biologist and psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) observed his children (and their
process of making sense of the world around them) and eventually developed a four-stage
model of how the mind processes new information encountered. He posited that children
progress through 4 stages and that they all do so in the same order. These four stages
Sensory-motor stage (Birth to 2 years old). The infant builds an understanding of
himself or herself and reality (and how things work) through interactions with the
environment. It is able to differentiate between itself and other objects. Learning
takes place via assimilation (the organization of information and absorbing it into
existing schema) and accommodation (when an object cannot be assimilated and
the schemata have to be modified to include the object.
Preoperational stage (ages 2 to 4). The child is not yet able to conceptualize
abstractly and needs concrete physical situations. Objects are classified in simple
ways, especially by important features.
Concrete operations (ages 7 to 11). As physical experience accumulates,
accomodation is increased. The child begins to think abstractly and conceptualize,
creating logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences.
Formal operations (beginning at ages 11 to 15). Cognition reaches its final form.
By this stage, the person no longer requires concrete objects to make rational
judgements. He or she is capable of deductive and hypothetical reasoning. His or
her ability for abstract thinking is very similar to an adult
Reference: Lucas, M. D. (2002) Child and Adolescent Development. Quezon City,
Manila:Lorimar Publishing Incorporated.