Jean Piaget and
After working as a lecturer in Philosophy and Psychology Jean
Piaget eventually began to concentrate his attention on the
development of knowledge in children labelling this area of study
Broadly speaking he identified infants as initially forming
basic sensorimotor skills in relation to their physical
environment, as this set or schema of basic sensorimotor
skills developed it increasingly laid foundations for the
development of another set or schema of exploratory
He gradually built up a theory which included a large number of
different skill sets or schemas. Each of these skill sets
tended to be open to be attained by children of differing ages as
they became adapted to the world around them. Just as there might
be held to be a broadly sensorimotor stage of development, (that
tended to continue until a child was around two years of age), he
also suggested that there might be preoperational, concrete
operational, and formal operational stages of development.
Jean Piaget discovered that children of certain ages, as an
expression of their creativity, can fall into a credible error
because they are not yet fully familiar with the physical world.
Perhaps the most celebrated of these creative, half-credible,
errors being the notion that such things as trees "make" the wind
by waving their branches, or that waves "make" the wind by
driving towards the shore. Jean Piaget considered that even in
their absolute error children deserved to be fully accepted and
appreciated for their creative and half-credible approach to
explaining their environment. A heavy handed correction of
their understandable error might, meanwhile, might prove to be
stunting of future expressions of creativity.
- The sensorimotor stage
lasting from birth to approximately the age of two. Here the
child is concerned with developing motor control and gaining
familiarity with physical objects.
- The preoperational stage
lasting approximately from ages two to seven. Here the child is
preoccupied with developing verbal skills. At this point the
child can incresingly put names on objects and starts to reason
- The concrete operational stage
lasting from ages seven to twelve. Here the child increasingly
begins to deal with abstract concepts such as numbers and
- The formal operational stage
lasting from ages twelve to fifteen. In this stage the child increasingly
begins to reason logically and systematically.
Jean Piaget considered himself to be more a philosopher than a
child psychologist. Epistemiology has long been a recognised area
of philosophical studies.
Jean Piaget and