Intellectual Development

What is cognitive or intellectual development?

Cognitive or intellectual development means the growth of a child’s ability to think and reason. It’s about how they organize their minds, ideas and thoughts to make sense of the world they live in.

Some intellectual development milestones you may notice in five and six-year-olds include:

  • Vocabulary increasing to 2,000 words, sentences of five or more words.
  • Can count up to 10 objects at one time, can copy complex shapes.
  • Begin to reason and argue, uses words like why and because.
  • Understand concepts like yesterday, today and tomorrow.
  • Are able to sit at a desk, follow teacher instructions and do simple assignments independently.

Some intellectual development milestones you may notice in seven to 11-year-olds include:

  • A longer attention span and willing to take on more responsibility such as chores.
  • Understand fractions, money and the concept of space.
  • Can tell time and name months and days of week in order.
  • Enjoy reading a book on their own.

Adolescents aged 12 to 18 are capable of complex thinking. This includes the ability to:

  • Think abstractly about possibilities.
  • Reason from known principles, forming own new ideas or questions.
  • Consider many points of view, comparing or debating ideas or opinions.
  • Thinking about the process of thinking, being aware of the act of thought processes.