Early Childhood Cognitive Development: Introduction
According to Piaget, children in the Preoperational stage of development build on skills learned and mastered during the Sensorimotor stage. For a review of Sensorimotor development, please click here. During this stage, young children's play becomes increasingly imaginary and filled with fantasies. As children develop cognitively, their play will move from simple make-believe to plots involving more characters and scenarios, games with sophisticated rules, etc. According to Piaget, playing isn't just fun; it is an important part of brain development.
The Piagetian milestones described in this section are typical or average for young children ages 2-7 living in Western countries. Once again, however, each child is unique and will grow in his or her own time and way. As with physical milestones, if caregivers suspect that "something isn't right" or that their child is failing to complete major developmental tasks, they should discuss their concerns with a pediatrician or family doctor. Some young children may have developmental delays or challenges that can be identified and successfully addressed if caught early.