This paper explains the five stages of cognitive development which begin from infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, early adolescence, and ends with late adolescence.
The ability to initiate thought, remember, solve a problem, and make decisions is cognitive development. It is considered normal when a child’s physical growth is directly proportional to his thinking.
The infancy stage ranges from birth to two years. At birth Infants should be able to see and follow objects, smile at a familiar person speaking, and anticipate events such as suckling on seeing a nipple or a bottle, and show interest in toys and new surroundings. On turning three months, infants should identify a familiar face and imitate expressions like smiling. Parents should therefore assist a child’s intellectual growth by regularly providing them with a variety of toys and materials to capture their interests (Teresa, 2004).
Early childhood stage spans from two to six years. At this stage intelligence in children is shown through the use of symbols like drawing with crayons. Their language, memory and imagination are also developed.
The middle childhood stage ranges from six years to twelve years. At this age, a child is able to use logical and coherent actions in thinking and solving problems. For instance, he is able to explain why some things happen by relating to past experiences. At this stage, a child should be exposed to many opportunities to learn and practice basic knowledge and skills.
A child graduates from childhood to early adolescence. At this stage, a child gains independent thinking to face various situations, understand mathematical concepts and philosophy and consequently, use the skills and information gained in an occupation.
Lastly, a child undergoes the late adolescence stage, where he should be able to focus on a particular task for a long time, show relationships between ideas and give judgment. Late adolescents should also make lots of choices.
Teresa M. McDevitt & Jeanne Ellis Ormond (2004). Children and Adolescence (pp. 201). New Jersey: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.