Adaptation, Assimilation, and Accommodation

"Operation - An internalized action that is part of the child's cognitive structure." 

So, we organize the world.  Acting on it with schema and eventually developing the ability to think about and manipulate things in our minds.

Adaptation  

- the other primary aspect of Piaget's theory.  We organize the world and act on it with the schema we have developed.  As we experience new things, however, we must modify these schemata and apply them to new objects.  Two processes are involved in this - assimilation and accommodation. 

Assimilation - applying an old schema to a new object.
Accommodation - changing an existing schema when faced with new information - this can involved creating new schema and/or modifying old.  Another way of defining these terms relates to schemas in the mind that are used to organize the world:

Assimilation occurs when individuals incorporate new information into their existing knowledge. 
Accommodation occurs when individuals adjust to new information.

Piaget's stages of cognitive development will be addresses thoroughly. While we won't get into some of the details at times, you will be expected to know what each of this stages is all about. You will find complete coverage of Piaget's theory in your text.

Piaget was most influential, but he is not without his critics.  He saw these stages as being in an invariant order and that children must pass through them sequentially.  It is also thought that he underestimated children's abilities.  We'll address each of these things later.

Moving Beyond Stage Theories