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Piaget’s Stages of Child Developement

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Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist and genetic epistemologist who is famously known for his theory of cognitive development. Piaget’s theory differs from other similar theories because he focused only on children, as opposed to all learners. He looked at how children develop intellectually throughout their childhood and determined that, contrary to popular thinking at that time, children are not simply mini-adults. Rather, Piaget suggested that children think in very different ways than adults.

His theory is well known, and accepted, by many child development psychologists and contributes immensely to the educational approaches. Take a look at his theory below and keep it in mind when it comes to expectations and growth of the children you care for.

Piaget's Stages of Development

You’ll see that, according to Piaget, children don’t just add more information to their existing bank of knowledge. Instead, Piaget suggested that the quality of knowledge actually changes within the child. For example, a 7 year old doesn’t only have more information about the world than he did at age 2; there is a huge change in how he thinks about the world as well.

Keep this in mind when caring for orphans or vulnerable children. Depending on their age, the way they see the world around them is dramatically different. Younger children are much more easily confused, overwhelmed, damaged, and limited…inherently. Older children are more cognitively able to process complex problems and come up with solutions. Meet your children where they are and grow alongside them through these four stages of development.

This post is written by Stephanie Eitzen, a student studying Ministry to Orphans and Vulnerable Children at Austin Bible Institute.
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