The growth of children’s ability to reason and think is known as cognitive development. This kind of growth happens differently in different ages. For instance, from ages 6 to 12 is different from that of ages 12 to 18.between ages 6 to 12years children’s ability to think is developed in concrete ways, it is therefore known as concrete operations. This is because it is done around events and objects. These operations include: separations (division and subtraction); combinations (addition); order (sorting and alphabetization); transformations of actions and objects. Adolescents are of ages 12 to 18. Here more complex thinking is done, also termed as formal logical operations. They have ability to think about possibilities (abstract thinking); form new questions and ideas; compare or debate opinions and ideas and they are aware of the thinking process.
Children’s cognitive development can be described in four stages from when they are born to adulthood, they can be classified as from birth to age of 18 to 24 months (toddlerhood); toddlerhood through to age 7 (early childhood); ages 7 to 12 years and from adolescence to adulthood (Bishop, 2014). These stages of development are however not fixed for all children in terms of the time they go through them, some children may go through them earlier than expected while others may get to the stages at a later age than expected. In addition, some children may also show distinctiveness of more than one stage at a specific time. However cognitive development is sequential in all children and stages cannot be skipped. Stages are also marked with more complicated understanding of the world and new intellect abilities (Brandon et al., 2012).
In infants’ early stages of development, they are only conscious of what’s just in front of them. They are more focused on what they are doing, what they see and their immediate environments physical interaction. They involve themselves in experimenting with different things, shaking them, throwing them and putting everything in their mouth (Davies, 2017). They do everything through trial and error. Later they become goal oriented doing things and expecting a specific result. Infants begin to notice that object exists even when out of sight at the age of 7 and 9 months. This is termed as object permanence (Greenfield & Cocking, 2014). This marks the sign of memory development. There is noticeable cognitive development due to increase in mobility as infants crawl then stand and ultimately walk. At 18 to 24 months infants start to develop early language.
During toddlerhood to age 7, children develop the ability to symbolically think in relation to things (Dewey, 2013). Memory develops and they are able to differentiate the future and the past, and can play make- believe. However at this stage their thinking is more based on intuition and not more logical. Complex concepts like time, comparison, cause and effect cannot be grasped at this stage.
At ages of 7 to 11 (elementary age) children develop concrete and logical reasoning. They become aware of things in their surrounding and they stop focusing entirely on themselves (Lantolf et al., 2015). It is here that they also become aware that everybody has their own unique feelings and thoughts and that the feelings are not necessarily real or shared by others. In this stage, hypothetical thinking is however not part of most children.
At age 11 years plus, it’s considered intellectual developments fourth stage. Here adolescents are able to use symbols associated with abstract concepts logically. This includes scientific concepts and algebraic expressions (Markowitz & Shariff, 2012). They can consider possibilities, systematically think of multiple variables and formulate hypotheses. They can also contemplate on intangible relationships like justice. This is the last intellectual development stage and continued adult development depends on knowledge accumulation.
From the above study I also differ with the proposal that intelligence is a fixed trait. It can be shown that it’s a process that occurs as a result of interaction with the environment and biological maturation. Children are born with just a basic mental structure which harbors subsequent knowledge learnt from different spheres of life that they come into contact with. However young children are thinking is strikingly unlike that of adults (McLaughlin, 2013).
Adolescents always draw attention to their peers’ behavior; they facilitate one another’s antisocial behavior. Peers are not of much importance in early stages of growth as family relations are more influential and more important to them. However at the ages of 3 to 4 years some children also have trouble being accepted into peer groups (other peers). This early troubles have downbeat consequences in social and emotional development in later stages (Moore & Dunham, 2014). Children who are proficient with peers at early stages of life and those that demonstrate prosocial behavior are more likely to be acceptable by peers, while the aggressive ones are rejected by peers. On the other hand, disordered children have challenges in relating with others. Early positive relations and friendships protect children later in life with psychological challenges.
Children have needs that they all need from their parents, this needs include security; they all need to feel safe (Piaget, 2013). This feeling is achieved by providing them with basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, protection from harm and Medicare. They need stability; this is given by family and community, broken families disrupt children’s lives while stable ones are ideal. This gives them a sense of cultural continuity and belonging. Consistency; parenting should be synchronized. Love; love for children overcomes parental mistakes; they need to know that parents will always love them no matter what. Education; parents should give education to their children for a bright future. Positive role models; parents being the children’s first role models, should behave in a manner that they will love their children to become. Structure; children should be thought boundaries, limits and rules (Sauer, 2012).
Cognitive development is a continuous reorganization of processes in the mind which result from biological maturation and the environment that one grows in. children therefore construct an perception of the surrounding world, they experience discrepancies between new discoveries and what they already know.
Bishop, D. (2014). Uncommon Understanding (Classic Edition): Development and disorders of language comprehension in children. Psychology Press.
Brandon, M., Sidebotham, P., Bailey, S., Belderson, P., Hawley, C., Ellis, C., & Megson, M. (2012). New learning from serious case reviews: a two year report for 2009-2011. Department for Education, 63.
Davies, B. (2017). Life in the classroom and playground: The accounts of primary school children (Vol. 17). Routledge.
Greenfield, P. M., & Cocking, R. R. (2014). Cross-cultural roots of minority child development. Psychology Press.
Dewey, J. (2013). The school and society and the child and the curriculum. University of Chicago Press.
Lantolf, J. P., Thorne, S. L., & Poehner, M. E. (2015). Sociocultural theory and second language development. Theories in second language acquisition: An introduction, 207-226.
Markowitz, E. M., & Shariff, A. F. (2012). Climate change and moral judgement. Nature Climate Change, 2(4), 243-247.
McLaughlin, B. (2013). Second language acquisition in childhood: Volume 2: School-age Children. Psychology Press.
Moore, C., & Dunham, P. (2014). Joint attention: Its origins and role in development.Psychology Press.
Piaget, J. (2013). The construction of reality in the child (Vol. 82). Routledge.
Sauer, H. (2012). Educated intuitions. Automaticity and rationality in moral judgement. Philosophical Explorations, 15(3), 255-275.