” to encourage them to evaluate someone else’s claim or idea,’ says Peter.
‘Ask them whether something is right or wrong, true or false, okay or not okay: in other words, have them take a position, evaluate and, if necessary, eliminate.’‘Though children are able to provide reasons for their answers, they often don’t; instead, they make unsupported assertions,’ Peter explains.
It helps them ask questions and make value judgements, and try to figure things out if they don’t make sense.
Critical thinking encompasses many of the skills your child needs to access the primary school National Curriculum, including inventing, making analogies, formulating hypotheses and suggesting alternatives.
Key Stage 2 SATs in English, for example, include a reading comprehension paper, where your child will have to make inferences and deductions from set texts.
Indeed, research has suggested that children who are taught critical thinking skills do better at language comprehension and problem-solving, and even have a higher IQ than their peers.‘Children are not only capable of critical thinking from an early age, but they actually do it, too,’ says Peter.‘For example, children as young as five and six use counter-examples (“Not all birds fly; penguins are birds, and they don’t fly”), draw distinctions (“Heroes are not the same as superheroes”), and challenge inference-making (“Just because he’s the biggest, it doesn’t mean he should get more”).’Here’s how to help your child hone these skills as they grow.
This gives your child a chance to reflect on her response and perhaps refine, rather than responding with her very first gut reaction. Instead, try counting to 120, or even longer, and observe what your child is doing before stepping in.
As challenging as it may be, avoid completing or doing the task for your child.
How can I get the block to balance on the top of this tower?
By providing indoor and outdoor space for playing, along with time for pretend play, you provide open-ended opportunities for your child to try something and see the reaction; and then to try something else and see if he can create a different reaction.