Discuss the cognitive changes taking place in a developing child.


solution –  cognitive development during childhood. 

Piaget discussed different stages and out of which preoperational thought stage is the one. 

He explicates that during childhood, the child gains the ability to mentally represent an object that is not at all physically present. 

Its age ranges from 2 to 7 years, during this stage its symbolic and representational thought process develops. Object permanence is established, the child cannot coordinate different physical attributes of an object. 

You must have observed children draw different drawings and represent them as trees, animals, dinosaurs etc. this is the ability that shows children engage in the symbolic thought process and helps to expand children’s world. 

Salient features of the preoperational stage

  1. Egocentrism – also called self-focus, is the period when children see the world only in terms of their own selves and are not able to appreciate others point of view. 

  2. Animism – this is the condition when the child thinks that everything possesses life, they try to attribute non-living things with living characteristics.

For example- a child running and slipping down and then saying that the road or the rock kicked me

Or it’s because of the rock that I fell down now beat him.

  1. During these years only child wants answers to all the questions that come to their mind. For example – why the sky is blue? Piaget called this stage of intuitive thought. 

  2. Children during this age have the tendency of centration, this is focusing on a single characteristic or feature to understand and comprehend an event. 

As the child grows and enters into the middle and late childhood period, according to Piaget this is a phase of CONCRETE OPERATIONAL THOUGHT STAGE. 

During this stage, the intuitive thoughts are replaced by concrete logical thoughts. In this stage, children can perform mental actions which they do physically before. The mental actions they perform are also reversible in the sense that they are aware of things. For example – in a experiment children were exposed to two balls of the same size and volume and then one ball was rolled into a thin wire when the experimenter asked the child which one has more clay; the child reported that both the objects have the same amount of clay. 

This would not be the case of a preoperational child, further during the concrete operational stage child is able to focus on many features and aspects of the objects and situations and thus it leads to a reduction in egocentrism. Thinking gets very flexible and these cognitive abilities pave the way for language acquisition.

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