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The Sensorimotor Stage:
Relevance to Infants
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Jean Piaget’s Theories
1896 - 1980
Four Stages of Learning
Concrete Operations
Formal Operations
Birth to about 2 yrs
2-7 yrs
11 into adulthood
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
• In this stage children
learn about the world
through their senses
and body movements
• This stage is broken
up into 6 different
1.Birth to 1 month
2.1 to 4 months
3.4 to 8 months
4.8 to 12 months
5.12 to18 months
6.18 to 24 months
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stage One: Birth to 1 month
Practices natural reflexes
Infants are only aware of
themselves and their needs
They do not understand
themselves as separate
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stage Two: 1 to 4 months
Learn to combine two reflexes
For example they wave their fists and
then brings their fists to their mouths
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stage Three:
4 to 8 months
They respond to other stimuli
Improved hand-eye coordination
For example, if a baby bumps a rattle and it
makes a noise, he/she may try to bump it
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stage Four: - 8 to 12 months
Intentional behavior
• They learn certain
actions lead to certain
• Imitate others
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
•They learn to follow objects
with their eyes
•They love playing Peek-ABoo
Ten months- learn Object
•That objects continue to
exist even when out of
sight—can find partially
hidden objects
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stage Five:12 to 18 months
• Trial and error:
Push a cracker off a high
chair and watch it fall to the
floor. Then, do it again . . .
• Can find hidden objects
• Understands that objects
exist independently
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stage Six: 18 to 24 months
•Begin to experiment mentally as well as
•They think about what they are going to do
before they do it
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Parts of the brain and their
Brain stem---controls involuntary activities such
as breathing
Cerebrum---directs motor activities
Cerebellum---controls muscular coordination,
balance, and posture
Pituitary gland---releases hormones that control
metabolism and sexual development
Spinal cord---controls simple reflexes that do not
involve the brain
Thalamus---controls the way emotions are
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
How the brain works
Neurons---nerve cells in the brain that control body
Dendrites---parts of neurons that receive information
from other neurons
Cell body---the main part of each neuron that
processes information
Axons---transmits information from one neuron to
Myelin---coats the axon and make information
transformation easier
Neurotransmitters---chemicals released by the axons
Synapses---tiny gaps between neurons that
information must pass through to send signals
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stimulating brain development
Keep experiences simple and natural
Match experiences to the child’s cognitive
Establish routines and repeat experiences to
reinforce learning
Actively involve the infant
Provide a variety of experiences, but avoid
Avoid pushing infants to learn faster
Stimulate senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste
and touch to enhance learning
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Ways infants communicate verbally
Begin cooing at 6-8 weeks
Coo more when talked to, smiled at, and touched
Reasons for crying
To communicate discomfort, hunger, anger, or pain
To bring a response
Begin babbling at 4-5 months
Vowel and consonant sounds slowly added to form symbols
First words
Occur at 10-12 months
Same sound used more than once to refer to person, place, or event
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Ways infants communicate
Reaching for or pointing
 Clinging
 Pushing away
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage
Stimulating language development
Give positive feedback as infants attempt
to communicate
 Speak clearly using simple words
 Avoid using baby talk
 Talk about activities and things around
4.03-Sensorimotor Stage