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Thinking and Problem Solving

A child begins to develop her thinking and problem-solving skills from early toddler-dom starts exploring the world around her. Curiosity abounds as she sees, hears, touches, feels and tastes. Between 18mths - 3years, her cognitive skills begin to develop. An open door is spied - and the curious thought of 'I wonder what is beyond it' is triggered. Frustration becomes a common experience as she is thwarted in his plans when the adults around her ensure that explorations don't lead to danger or harm. Activities such as building towers out of bricks will amuse her - and again frustration might be experienced as they fall down time after time. These types of activities are a critical part of the learning of cause-and-effect thinking and, with the appropriate encouragements/affirmations, she will receive the message that it's okay if things don't work out the first time - she can try and try again.

Curiosity abounds as he sees, hears, touches, feels and tastes. Between 18mths - 3years, his cognitive skills begin to develop. An open door is spied - and the curious thought of 'I wonder what is beyond it' is triggered. Frustration becomes a common experience as he is thwarted in his plans as the adults around him ensure that his explorations don't lead to danger. Activities such as building towers out of bricks will amuse him - and again frustration might be experienced as they fall down time after time. These types of activities are a critical part of the learning of cause-and-effect thinking and with the appropriate encouragements/affirmations he will receive the message that it's okay if things don't work out the first time - she can try and try again.

Some questions to consider:

  • Has the child had a recent hearing test - it is always worth checking and eliminating medical-based reasons for difficulties in concentrating?
  • Similarly are there speech and language difficulties – either diagnosed or worthy of being explored?
Behaviours Some examples Possible developmental tasks Affirmations Some strategies

Work demonstrates a lack of thought

Inability to/difficulties with thinking in terms of cause and effect

Unvwillingness/reluctance to engage in problem-sovling activities

To use all senses to explore the environment

To develop sensory awareness using all senses

To start to learn that there are options and that not all problems are easily solved

To develop initiative

To establish ability to think for self

To learn to think and solve problems with cause-and-effect thinking

To reason about wants and needs

To learn to listen in order to collect information and think

To practice thinking and doing

You can use all of your senses when you explore

You can explore and experiment and we will support and protect you

You can be interested in everything

We like you when you are active and when you are quiet

We like to watch you grow and learn

You can do things as many times as you need to

You can know what you know

You can do things as many times as you need to

I'm glad you're starting to think for yourself

You can learn to think for yourself and others too

You can think and feel at the same time

You can know what you need and ask for help

You can trust your intuition to help decide what you want to do

You can find ways of doing things that work for you

Exploration-based activities:
Sand-pit, cooking, science experiments

'Listen and do' activities eg having to colour in specific parts of a picture specific colours

Discussions that promote critical thinking - and where the emphasis is not upon 'getting the right answer'

Science experiments for cause-and-effect thinking

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