Important Stages in a Child’s Cognitive Development

Information to help parents develop their child in the right order.

Many children become frustrated with the learning process, finding it too difficult, all because they essentially lack the proper cognitive skills needed to process information. That is, those specific basic skills that make for successful learning. The extra workload in school, homework, or emphasis on the lack of these skills adds to their frustration and further exacerbates their reading problems and difficulties in acquiring new knowledge.

Most schools do not provide enough resources or time to provide the individualized instruction that students with weak cognitive skills need. In addition, educators have to read the curriculum at a pace that is difficult for these children to maintain. They cannot keep up with their peers and have difficulty learning, falling further and further behind, and often acquiring a lifelong problem.

Cognitive Stages

of Child Development – Learning Stages. What is the cogat test?

Learning is a complex process that develops in stages. It relies on innate abilities inherited and genetically encoded at birth. But few of us learn at the maximum efficiency that is genetically determined. This is why study and practice improve learning ability and performance in most people.

The development of our learnability goes through stages of improving sensory and motor skills, then cognitive skills, and finally leads to the ability to learn formal instructions. Failure in any of the stages can lead to problems in the next dependent stages.

Schools, public programs, and special education focus on academic instruction (the final stage). Unfortunately, they rarely recognize that not all children have adequately developed the cognitive skills necessary to effectively process and understand the information given through academic instruction. Without the development of appropriate cognitive skills, detailed academic instruction and tutoring do not lead to improved learning ability, and all efforts to help the student learn are wasted.

A closer look at the stages of learning reveals the importance of developing cognitive skills.

Innate Abilities. A person’s innate abilities are the foundation of the learning process. They are genetically predetermined abilities and limitations that we possess at birth and that we inherit from our parents and ancestors. Mozart certainly had more innate musical ability than most of us, but with practice most of us can also improve our musical abilities. The upper limits of our abilities are determined by our innate data, but how close we get to those upper limits is determined by the other elements necessary for learning.
Sensory and motor skills. Sensory and motor skills develop from our innate abilities. Sensory skills include seeing, hearing, and touching. They are responsible for receiving information. Motor skills relate to muscles and movement and include the ability to crawl, walk, run, write, and speak. Motor skills express and display the information our senses have received and processed. Both sensory and motor skills are partly determined by genetic code and partly acquired through repetitive interaction with the environment. In almost all people, these skills can be improved with proper goal-oriented practice. They are the basis for sports and musical instrument playing, physical therapy and other such efforts to increase performance.
Cognitive skills – Cognitive (cognitive) abilities allow us to process the sensory information we receive. They include our ability to analyze, eva

luate, store information, recall experiences, compare, and identify actions. Although cognitive skills are partly innate, most of them are acquired. If they do not develop naturally, cognitive deficits form, which reduce learning potential and are difficult to correct without specific and appropriate (medical) intervention. Like sensory and motor skills, cognitive skills, too, can be trained and improved with proper instruction. Cognitive changes can be seen when trauma has a damaging effect on a particular area of the brain. The right therapy can often “repair” the patient’s brain, and consequently restore or improve cognitive function. This also works in the case of students. Weak cognitive skills can be strengthened and normal cognitive skills can be improved, thereby increasing the ease and productivity of the learning process.

Perception of instructions. Formal acceptance and adherence to instructions is the last and most heterogeneous level of learning. It includes the stu

dy of academic subjects such as algebra, reading, and writing–those which neither intuitively nor independently (for the most part) can be mastered. These subjects are learned through formal education, and the successful and easy learning of these subjects depends on a person’s basic cognitive skills. The knowledge base in each subject can be expanded, but without a proper foundation in the form of effective cognitive skills already formed, good academic performance can be a difficult task filled with frustration.

Cognitive skills can be trained and improved

As one matures and academic tasks become more challenging, it is essential that the basic skills such as to solve them are present and functioning properly. Strong cognitive skills are the key to high academic achievement. Without them, a person with learning or reading problems cannot reach their full potential.

If your child is having difficulty learning or reading, it may be because one or more of the basic cognitive skills are underdeveloped. If this is indeed the cause, it can be corrected with special individualized learning programs designed to overcome “weaknesses” specific to each individual child, which means that information from the school program will be absorbed much faster and better as a result.