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Stages of Development


Returning for a moment to the scene on the playground, Piaget's and Erikson's stage theories help show that children at these various ages are not simply just adding to their experience and knowledge base as they grow older in the way that a person glides up an escalator at a smooth and steady pace. Instead, their development is more like walking up a grand staircase with multiple plateaus. Within a level they are always making advances, and those advances taken together help prepare them for the next level. Once they reach that next higher level, they are facing a new set of issues, perhaps functioning in a qualitatively different way, but building nevertheless upon their rich experience of previous levels.


Erikson, Erik H. Identity: Youth and Crisis. New York: Norton, 1968.

Ginsburg, Herbert, and Sylvia Opper. Piaget's Theory of Intellectual Development, 3rd edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1988.

Gross, Francis L. Introducing Erik Erikson: An Invitation to His Thinking. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986.

Miller, Patricia H. Theories of Developmental Psychology, 3rd edition. New York: Freeman, 1993.

Piaget, Jean, and Bärbel Inhelder. The Psychology of the Child. New York: Basic, 1969.

Siegler, Robert S. "Children's Thinking: How Does Change Occur?" In Franz E. Weinert and Wolfgang Schneider eds., Memory Performance and Competencies: Issues in Growth and Development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1995.

Virginia D. Allhusen

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 7Stages of Development - Stages Of Cognitive Development, Stages Of Psychosocial Development, Summary