Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Critical Thinking

One of my philosophies in teaching young children is that all children should learn critical thinking skills. I know too many adults who are lacking in this area. Teaching young children to "think" can be quite easy and actually a lot of fun. Critical thinking doesn't begin when kids are teens reading complex paragraphs and trying to figure out symbolism or solving complex math problems. It occurs much earlier in life for those skills to become obtainable.

My daughter is 15 months old and here a couple things we do to encourage problem solving:

  • We play with the shape sorter.
  • We guess what character will be on the next diaper.
  • We guess what the next song will be (I put her music on shuffle).
  • We play "can you find (said toy)" almost all day long.
  • I let her get stuck and try to figure it out before helping her.
  • I'll give her the toy catalog and ask her to find a toy that she owns.
  • I often read a familiar book and say the title wrong. She looks perplexed and then I ask her what it says. Sometimes she answers. Eventually, I say "no, it's ..." and say it correctly.
  • I laminate cards with stickers and we play matching games.
  • Every book read and reread helps with critical thinking.
  • We just started working on putting things where they go. It takes way longer than doing it myself, but it is teaching her problem solve.
Here is a good article about problem solving.

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