Meaning and Definition of Cognitive Development in Childhood

Meaning of Cognitive Development

During the first five years of childhood, children develop rapidly in four major domains – motor, language and communication, social or emotional, and cognitive. Cognitive development refers to the way children think, explore, and observe the things around them. It involves the development of knowledge, disposition, and problem-solving skills which helps them to get a better understanding of the world around them.

Cognitive development includes brain development. The two main theorists of cognitive development, Piaget and Vygotsky, agreed that the acquisition of speech is responsible for the active construction of knowledge in children. Jean Piaget is referred to as the father of cognitive development. He was a Swiss psychologist who observed the intellectual development of children during childhood.

Definitions of Cognitive Development

Definition of cognitive development by authors:

“Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.”


“Cognitive development is a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience.”

Jean Piaget

“Cognitive abilities are socially guided and constructed.”


“Cognitive development has been defined as the construction of thinking processes from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.”

Richland, Frausel, and Begolli


Teachers must put the effort in trying to recognize the cognitive abilities of every learner and try to promote skills such as gaining information, recalling, and decision making. Practical tasks must be incorporated in the teaching-learning method to encourage the learners to implement the knowledge in everyday life.

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