The E’s and P’s of critical thinking development for kids.

Thursday, 16 September 2021
Critical thinking is one of the salient soft skills that every kid needs in order to fully grow. Critical thinking is one of the salient soft skills that every kid needs in order to fully grow.

Nowadays, academic skills are no longer enough for a kid to build their character. It is for this reason that many schools around the world focus on developing other skills such as critical thinking in their curriculum.

At some point, a kid cannot rely solely on basic knowledge like reading, writing or math to be not reach full development. To stand successful and ready for the world’s modern challenges, a child needs to develop various life skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.

Critical thinking is a key foundation to every success and fulfillment. It is advised that in their early childhood development, kids are called to compare two things, explain why things occur, evaluate ideas and form opinions, understand others’ perspectives, predict the future, and solve problems in creative ways.

Scientists note that critical thinking skills do not fully develop until adolescence. However, the foundations for good thinking start at a younger age. From ages 5 to 9, with a salient cognitive development, young children start to question, explore, and discover things. All these feed their critical thinking skills. It may be true that at these ages, children are not yet ready to take on complicated thinking and reasoning; nevertheless, it may also be the best ages to help them lay a foundation for critical thinking.

When a child becomes a good critical thinker, they are more likely to consider different ways of finding solutions to an issue or problem. Critical thinking makes the child more open-minded when solving problems. Furthermore, it also fosters their independence, encourages their curiosity, and enhances their creativity, enabling them to make good and sound decisions. To make your children good critical thinkers, give the valuable method below a try. It is called the “E’s and P’s” strategy from the Hanen guidebooks ABC and Beyond:

Explain. Engage children in the conversation and ask them to explain why things happen. Through this strategy, you encourage them to draw on their existing life skills and experience to formulate questions in their mind and search for answers.

Evaluate. Help kids evaluate and process information. They are given lots of information at a time. Making them assess the reliability of the information is required in this second strategy. It encourages them to express their preferences and their perception of things.

Predict. When learning something new, encourage the kid to make plausible predictions on what is going to happen next, to think about the possibilities behind the predictions, and to form hypothesis. After finishing reading a book chapter for instance, drive them to think about the possible unfolding of the story, if there is any.

Project. Stimulate young children’s empathy and teach them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and into other’s minds by making them ask questions related to other people’s stories. This fourth hint helps them to understand other people’s actions or emotions.

Problem-solve. Teach the kid to deal with small problems. Gear their mind towards problem-solving and motivate them to always think of and propose solutions based on their knowledge and experience.

Sources: The Hanen Centre / Michigan State University Extension / Bright Horizon.

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