Jean Piaget was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development. He showed that children had different ways of thinking than adults, and weren’t just less smart. Piaget’s theory states that children are born with a basic mental structure that was inherited and evolved over time. This is where he believed all learning is based from.
Piaget categorized development in multiple stages. The stage that I am going to be focusing on is the sensorimotor stage. This is the first stage in Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, including children birth to 2 years old. This stage focuses on the baby trying to make sense of the world around them, using their sensory perceptions and motor activities. In this stage babies start to develop object permanence. This is a very important accomplishment at this age. It is when the child understands that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen. An example of this is shown in this video of Maya, she is nine months old!
In addition to the stages of Piaget’s theory, each stage has additional sub-stages. The sub-stages of the sensorimotor stage are reflexes (0-1 month), primary circular reactions (1-4 months), secondary circular reactions (4-8 months), coordination of reactions (8-12 months), and early representational thought (18-24 months).
This next video of Maya showcases the coordination of reactions stage. During this stage, the child starts to be clearly intentional with their actions. They begin to explore their environment and often observe and imitate the behaviors of others. This video shows Maya watching me wave, and then copying me.
She also loves to follow around her big sister and attempt to copy her actions! This age frame is huge for development and so much happens in such a short amount of time. It is so fascinating!