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Stage Theories of Development

The idea of development as a series of stages is pervasive in everyday life, as well as in developmental psychology. The conceptualisation of development as a sequential series of stages through which individual children progress was evident in psychology from the beginnings of the discipline. The notion of stages of development, sometimes referred to as a classic approach to development, dominated the discipline through the 20th century and largely continues to do so today. This entry outlines the assumptions underpinning stage-based theories of development, provides examples of classic stage theories, and discusses the implications of adopting a stage theory approach to understanding children’s development.

A Stage Approach to Development

Stage theories share a view of development as a way of understanding and documenting changes through time. The ...

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