Jean Piaget developed a theory of cognitive development focusing on how children acquire their knowledge and learn. He believed children were born with a basic mental structure on which all subsequent learning and knowledge are based. He identified that children go through four chronological stages. 0-2 years, Sensorimotor, which children learn through the use of their senses; 2-7 years, Preoperational, using verbal skills and understanding the use of language and symbols; 7-12 years, Concrete Operational, where children begin to develop logical thinking and reasoning, abstract concepts and learn to focus on more than one thing at a time; 12 years onwards, Formal Operational, children are now able to use logical and systematic reasoning skills (Cherry, 2018).
One of Piagets important concepts which influence how children learn are schemas which describe mental and physical actions which aid understanding and knowledge. They help children to interpret and understand the world. According to Piaget, when a child develops a new experience, the information is used to modify, change or add information to any previous schemas.
His theory is used in school systems all around the world. His theory produced the idea of ages when using stages of development. It is used to predict children’s capabilities and what a child can or cannot understand. Schools use this knowledge to develop curriculums and activities in order to produce an environment where children can learn through experience (McLendon, 2011).