We all make decisions every day. From the outfit we wear and the breakfast we have, to the ways we commute to work, we deliberate almost on autopilot.
But how often do we use critical thinking to make decisions in our daily lives?
Critical thinking requires us to draw conclusions after analysing the information at hand. We use reasoning and logic to tackle an issue.
Why is critical thinking important?
In this globalised era, academic skills alone are not enough for children to succeed as the world continues to change. Life-skills such as financial management, social etiquette and having the ability to differentiate between real news and fake news require us to think critically.
The education industry agrees with the importance of nurturing critical thinking skills in young children as these skills enable one to ask the right questions to solve problems more effectively. A study done by Miri, David and Uri proves that encouraging open-ended class discussion leads to students asking questions and seeking their own solutions.
Developing critical thinking skills from a young age is beneficial as it:
- Provides better decision-making skills
Critical thinking skills aid children in their decision-making, be it for their academic needs or in their social lives. Children can think rationally before coming to a decision.
- Improves cognitive skills
In a world driven by fast-paced changes, those who can think critically will succeed as they tend to develop better cognitive skills.
- Promotes creativity
Critical thinkers are more creative as they can generate more solutions, find new ways to solve problems and make changes with agility.
How can we help develop critical thinking skills in children?
Parents who want their children to grow into confident, independent individuals can use these ways to develop critical thinking skills.
1. Teach problem-solving skill
Teaching kids problem-solving skills is not an easy task. One way to begin is to ask your child to brainstorm solutions to simple everyday problems. For example, ask them to come up with a dinner menu based on the available ingredients in your kitchen.
Simple recipes you can try with your child.
This simple task allows them to analyse the situation that they are in and come up with a solution after weighing in the options they have.
2. Pause and wait
Another way to provide them with an opportunity to think critically is to ask open-ended questions. Instead of asking them, “Do you enjoy going to the park?”, try asking your child “What do you like about going to the park?”
Asking open-ended questions help them to make connections on their own and encourage them to think. One thing to note is to not rush your child. Be patient and provide them ample time to think. Let them respond when they are ready.
3. Provide opportunities to learn through play
Children learn by discovering the world around them. It is through the things they see, hear and interact with that learning occurs – this includes during exploration and play.
Try doing interesting activities such as playing board games, completing jigsaw puzzles or even go on a treasure hunt to stimulate their thinking skills. By nurturing their curiosity through fun activities, children will be more inclined to think critically and creatively.
4. Assist them to make predictions
When playing or learning, try asking them to think of the possible outcomes. “What do you think will happen if we do this?” or “Can you tell me which option is the best for this situation?”
Try to apply this in your everyday situations such as when doing chores or during family playtime. When you assist them to make predictions, you are helping your child to think critically and generate solutions.
Education must meet the needs of young learners
Promoting critical thinking begins with the right education. Early childhood education should build children’s language skills, enrich their logical and scientific knowledge and enhance their creativity, physical, social and emotional development.
After years of research, Q-dees – the best preschool brand in Malaysia – has discovered that the best way for children to develop critical thinking skills is by linking their logical and creative minds to think.
Using the award-winning Link & Think Methodology, Q-dees provides a holistic, integrated curriculum that makes learning different subjects a seamless experience. This teaches children to relate the knowledge that they gain from one subject to another.
More ways how Q-dees incorporates critical thinking into its programmes:
- Hands-on, minds-on activities
We conduct hands-on, minds-on activities at our centres to make lessons more engaging. The more engaged students are when learning, the more they will ask critical questions. This is because they can visualize the concepts instead of memorising them.
At Q-dees, we use proprietary Hands-on Minds-on Mathsboard™ which is designed for children to learn complex math concepts using the hands-on, minds-on approach.
- Life application
We nurture values in children through our Character Building programme. The syllabus mimics real-life encounters so that it is applicable in their daily lives. It helps children to analyse the situations that they are in and think of the consequences of the actions they take.
Watch this snippet from our multimedia programme to understand more about our Character Building programme:
As opposed to rote learning, this award-winning teaching methodology develops critical thinking skills in preschoolers as it allows them to conceptualise the knowledge they receive. It builds a strong foundation in learning and prepares children for the rigours of primary school and beyond.
Critical thinking is vital not only for children’s academic achievements, but also for their social and emotional growth.
No matter the education or the preschool that you choose, the most important thing is for you to find a holistic education that meets the needs of young learners – and that is one that helps your child to develop critical thinking skills.
Contact us to learn more about our programmes: