Thursday, August 16, 2012

Follow the Lead: Developing Thinking Skills in Infants and Preschoolers

As children develop, providing a stimulating environment can help to encourage creative and critical thinking skills.  Purposefully placing age-appropriate materials within reach and engaging children in playful interaction can allow the child to take the lead while learning from the guidance of a caregivers.

Infants are nurtured through sights, sounds and gentle touches. They learn to respond to the sounds of the human voice and noises in their environment. A gently stimulating environment and an attentive caregiver can offer babies a chance to discover that they can create change by what they see, hear or touch. Place rattles of varying sounds and textures in a baby's reach and she will explore them in various ways - shaking them, tasting them or dropping them and then exploring them again. In life, creating change leads to innovative solutions!

Crawlers and walkers become more deliberate and purposeful in responding to people and objects. Sing a familiar song or nursery rhyme over and over again. Then sing it again, only this time stop before you get to the last word or phrase. The child may finish that last word or phrase. Learning to anticipate what happens next contributes to making good decisions.
Young preschoolers create a story of their own.
Young preschoolers are beginning to form mental pictures as they make sense of the sights and sounds of their world. Recreate some of their favorite storybooks by acting them out together. This helps build memory, a necessary component in school or work. At this age they may enjoy attending a performance or storytelling event.

DCM staff, Rachel Davis, and visitors post a story.

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