Summary of Jean Piaget’s Concepts of Cognitive Development


Conservation is the understanding of a child that despite the change in appearance of something, it remains the same. Conservation occurs to children at the age of 7-11 years (Dixon & Bangert, 2005). Most children at the age of six to seven years would identify that the quantity of something maintains despite the change in other elements. For example if five clothes were put closely to each other on a cloth lining then spread out, the child would still identify the number of clothes as being five despite the spread. This is referred to as conservation of number. If one of the clothes is taken and cut into three pieces, the child comprehends that the quantity of the cloth does not change and that if knit together, one would attain the former shape. This feature is called reversibility and the child has developed conservation of substance. As the child reaches eight to nine years, they develop conservation of area. They can identify that the same number of things such as chairs squeezed together in a room occupies the same area if spread out. Therefore when something is redistributed, the child has the ability to detect the constancy in the length, volume, mass or number. In a social setting, a child who develops understanding of conversation length would understand that whether they bend or jump up when among others, their height would remain the same. They therefore are contended with body features such as weight and height. At home, those who grasp conversation of area for example understand that the number or size of cookies does not change when they place them in a larger or smaller bowl. They become more efficient in utilizing the area available such as by using the right size of containers to hold different objects.


Classification is the ability of the child to perform relations of the existing categories. This understanding is crucial by helping the child to find solutions to problems. For example the child can categorize things basing on their size, color and shape. The child understands that one category may include another one. When there is change in size of things, the child could also tell the change in color (Spensley & Taylor, 2007). One gains the ability to tell between things that are the same and those that are different. At an initial stage, children only understand and put objects in classes by feeling, seeing or hearing. However, as they develop, they understand the similarities in the objects together with their functions. At the age of 7 to 10, children perform comparisons beyond conversations and can categorize things on general terms and also using more specific information. This is called hierarchical classification. The child is able to understand the properties of the given categories do relations of the classes and utilize the grouping information to develop solutions. Hierarchical grouping entails the formation of subgroups from the preceding subgroups. The ability of a child to form general and more specific classes of things enables them to develop understanding and appreciation for subjects such as social studies and sciences that require them to make comparisons. For example a child can between an animal and a plant. This is an important role classification plays in education by helping the student to understand the subjects as they are taught (Tourmen, 2016). In the social setting, classification enables the child to perform better identification of people around them using size and skin color. At home, the child can better understand instructions given to them by parents involving the use of color or size to make judgments.




Seriation is the ability of the child to group things basing on the magnitude, quantity or importance. For example the child can arrange objects starting with the smallest to the largest or from short to tall. The child has the ability to seriate which is demonstrated through activities such as counting numbers in an ordered sequence. Numbering shows the child’s ability to identify things based on quantity as the numbers hold different quantities in ascending order. When given objects such as canes of varying length, the children can line them up as required either from largest to smallest or from smallest to largest. This shows their capability to judge and categorize things based on length. The child can selectively pick and arrange mixed-up items according to their sizes from the smallest to biggest. Seriation is a vital ability for children to perform well in education especially in sciences. This is because of the significance of measurement to science subjects. Sciences and mathematics involve taking measures of elements such as mass, width and length. These form the basis of calculations done in the subjects. The child gains appreciation of the activities involved in measurement. At home, the child develops better organization of their rooms (Dixon & Bangert, 2005). For example, they could arrange their toys from the smallest to the biggest instead of leaving them in a confused state. The children utilize the quantifiable measures to make decisions in their social setting. For example a child would majorly develop friendship with other children of the same height.