Concrete Operational Stage

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate December 2001

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The Concrete Operational Stage Jean Piaget was a psychologist who was originally from Switzerland. He found five consistent systems within certain broad age3 ranges. The five stages are: 1. Sensorimotor stage-ages 0-2 2. Preoperational stage-ages 2-7 3. Concrete operations stage-ages 7-11 4. Formal operations stage-ages 11-16 5. Late formal operations stage-ages 16 to adulthood In this paper I have concentrated on school age children, ages seven to eleven who are in the concrete operational stage.

At around the age of seven years, a child demonstrates characteristics of a major shift in thinking. At this point the child is moving into Piaget's third major period of cognitive growth called concrete operations.

In this stage, children are now able to think in a much more logical, flexible and organized way. The older child is better at distinguishing fantasy from reality and can reason correctly about many changes in objects and events in the everyday world.

At this age children are now capable of decentration. This means that they can concentrate on several aspects of a task rather than centering on only one. For example, children will do better on Piaget's task where he poured water from a tall thin container into a short wider one. This is because they are now capable of understanding that a change in one aspect of the water is compensated for, by a change in another aspect.

The experiment with the water also demonstrates that a child of this age is capable of understanding the concept of conservation. Conservation means that the child understands that objects continue to exist and that superficial changes in the appearance of objects do not change their basic identity.

Another way to test if a child understands the concept of conservation is by placing two rows of seven checkers each in front...