Child Development and Pedagogy – Four Major Stages of Piaget’s Cognitive Development

Four Major Stages of Piaget’s Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development suggests that children move through four different stages of mental development. His theory focuses not only on understanding how children acquire knowledge, but also on understanding the nature of intelligence.

Important Concepts within Piaget’s Model:

Schemes: Mental model of the world that we use to represent, organize, and interpret our experiences

Assimilation: Integrating new experiences into an existing scheme

Accommodation: Changing or modifying a scheme in order to incorporate a new experience

Four Major Stages:

  1. Sensorimotor (0-2 years)
    • Infant’s world consists of the immediate environment
    • Interact and learn by sensory input (hearing, feeling, seeing) with motor capabilities
    • Gradually learn to control their own bodies and objects in the external world
    • The ultimate task at this stage is to achieve the sense that objects go on existing even when we cannot see them (Object Constancy/Permanence).
  2. Preoperational (2-7 years)
    • Developing ability to manipulate images and symbols, especially language
    • Play becomes key in learning.  Begin to see use of symbolism in pretend play (e.g. Use a broomstick as a “horsey”).
    • Child’s view of the world is egocentric.
    • Logical organization of thoughts remains undeveloped (e.g. unable to apply principles of conservation).
  3. Concrete Operations (7-11 years)
    • Perform logical operations, but only in relation to concrete objects, not abstract ideas.
    • Basic math skills developed (counting, addition, subtraction) as well as an understanding of conservation.
    • Can sort items into categories, reverse the direction of their thinking, and think about two concepts simultaneously.
    • Able to understand a situation from another person’s perspective.
  4. Formal Operations (12+ years)
    • Begin to think logically and abstractly, including speculations about what might happen in the future
    • Theoretical, philosophical, and scientific reasoning becomes possible.
    • Abstract concepts and moral values become as important as concrete objects.
    • With these newly developed thinking abilities, adolescents begin to reinterpret and revise their knowledge base.


Almost every CTET and State TET ( UPTET, HTET etc) question paper has questions from this topic.

Previous Year Questions:

Question #1 According to Jean Piaget, which of the following is necessary for learning?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-09]
  • Observing the behaviour of adults
  • Belief in immanent justice
  • Reinforcement by teachers and parents
  • Active exploration of the environment by the learner correct answer
Question #2 According to Jean Piaget, schema building occurs as a result of modifying new information to fit existing schemes and by modifying old schemes as per new information. These two processes are known

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-09]
  • assimilation and adaptation
  • equilibration and modification
  • assimilation and accommodation correct answer
  • accommodation and adaptation
Question #3 According to Piaget, children’s thinking differs in _________ from adults than in ________

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-02]
  • amount; kind
  • size; correctness
  • kind; amount correct answer
  • size; type
Question #4 According to Piaget, a child between 2 to 7 yr is in the ………….. stage of cognitive development.

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2015-09]
  • formal operational
  • concrete operational
  • sensorimotor
  • pre operational correct answer
Question #5 According to Piaget, at which of the following stages does a child begin to think logically
about abstract propositions?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2011-06]
  • Sensori-motor stage (Birth – 02 years)
  • Pre-operational stage (02 – 07 years)
  • Concrete operational stage (07 – 11 years)
  • Formal operational stage (11 years and up) correct answer
Question #6 Ria does not agree with Rishabh about setting up a class picnic. She thinks that the rules can be revised to suit the majority . This kind of peer disagreement, according to Piaget, refers to

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2014-09]
  • Heteronomous morality
  • Cognitive immaturity
  • Reaction
  • Morality of cooperation correct answer
Question #7 Which of the following statements is correct about Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-09]
  • The sequence of the stages can vary according to the cultural context of children.
  • Piaget argues that instead of progressing through stages, cognitive development is continuous. correct answer
  • Piaget has proposed five distinct stages of cognitive development.
  • The stages are invariant which means that no stage can be skipped.
Question #8 The concept of ‘conservation’ as proposed by Jean Piaget means that:

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-09]
  • taking the perspective of others into consideration is an important cognitive ability
  • it is important to protect wildlife and forests
  • certain physical properties remain the same even when outwards appearances change correct answer
  • one can arrive at the correct conclusion by systematically testing hypothesis
Question #9 Which of the following statements describes Piaget and Vygotsky’s views on language and thought correctly?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-09]
  • Both view language as emerging from the child’s thought.
  • According to Vygotsky, thought emerges first and according to Piaget, language has a profoud effect on thought.
  • According to Piaget, thought emerges first and according to Vygotsky, language has a profound effect on thought. correct answer
  • Both view thought as emerging from the child’s language.
Question #10 According to Piaget’s stages of Cognitive Development, the associated with

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2012-01]
  • imitation, memory and mental representation correct answer
  • ability to solve problem
  • ability to interpret and
  • concerns about social issues
Question #11 According to Piaget’s cognitive theory of learning, the process by which the cognitive structure is modified is called

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2012-01]
  • Accommodation
  • Assimilation correct answer
  • Schema
  • Perception
Question #12 The stage of cognitive development according to Piaget, in which a child displays ‘object permanence’ is

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2012-01]
  • Formal operational stage
  • Sensorimotor stage
  • Pre-operational stage correct answer
  • Concrete operational stage
Question #13
Rashid is studying in class V. He can classify various types of triangles in different categories but has difficulty in understanding the abstract proof for the sum of three angles in a triangle to be always 180. According to Piaget Cognitive Theory, Rashid is
[Mathematics] [CTET-2013-07]
  • Pre­operational stage
  • Concrete operational stage correct answer
  • Formal operational stage
  • Sensori motor stage
Question #14 According to Piaget theory, which one out of the following will not influence one’s cognitive development?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2015-02]
  • Language
  • Social experiences correct answer
  • Maturation
  • Activity
Question #15 Which of the following figures correctly represents the development according to piaget’s developmental theory?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2014-02]
  • correct answer
Question #16 Which of the following implications cannot be derived from piaget’s theory of cognitive development?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2014-02]
  • Sensitivity of children’s readiness to learn
  • Acceptance of individual differences
  • Discovery learning
  • Need of verbal teaching correct answer
Question #17 In the context of language development, which of the following areas was underestimated by Piaget?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2014-02]
  • Heredity
  • Social interaction correct answer
  • Egocentric speech
  • Active construction by the child
Question #18 According to Jean Piaget’s theory

[Mathematics] [CTET-2014-02]
  • introduction of linear equation and learning techniques of solving it are assimilation, and extension the concept to pair of linear equations may raise problem of accommodation correct answer
  • introduction of pair of linear equations and techniques of solving it are assimilation, and connecting it to basics of linear equation is accommodation
  • exposure to linear equation, techniques of solving it and pair of linear equations are assimilation
  • learning the concept of linear equation, pair of linear equations and quadratic equations is problem of accommodation
Question #19 According to Piaget, which one of the following factors plays an important role in influencing development?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-02]
  • Reinforcement
  • Language
  • Experience with the physical world correct answer
  • Imitation
Question #20 In a constructivist classroom as envisioned by Piaget and Vygotsky, learning

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2016-02]
  • is offering of reinforcement by the teacher
  • is constructed by the students themselves who play an active role
  • is dictated by the teacher and the students are passive recipients of the same
  • happens by pairing of stimulus and response correct answer
Question #21 Algebra is introduced in the middle classes. According to Piagets’ theory of cognitive development, it is appropriate to introduce algebra at this stage as

[Mathematics] [CTET-2013-07]
  • the child is at sensorimotor stage and can understand with the help of lots of manipulatives
  • the child is at pre-operational stage and can understand abstract concepts
  • the child is at concrete-operational stage and he can understand and conceptualize concrete experiences by creating logical structure correct answer
  • the child is at formal operational stage and is fully mature to grasp the abstract concepts
Question #22 According to Piaget, during the first stage of development (birth to about 2 years age), a child learns best

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2011-06]
  • by using the senses correct answer
  • by comprehending neutral words
  • by thinking in an abstract fashion
  • by applying newly acquired knowledge of language
Question #23 What term/phrase does Piaget use for ‘mental structures which are the building blocks of thinking’?

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [CTET-2015-09]
  • Gene
  • Maturation blocks
  • Schemas correct answer
  • Zones of development
Question #24 According to Piaget, when the child is at formal operational stage, it is appropriate to introduce:

[Mathematics] [CTET-2015-09]
  • Numbers
  • Geometry
  • Ratio and Proportion correct answer
  • Data handling
Question #25 According to piaget, the second stage of cognitive development is

[Child Development and Pedagogy] [UPTET-2017-10]
  • Sensorimotor stage
  • Formal operations stage
  • Pre-operations stage correct answer
  • Concrete operations



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