Children’s social world includes people like parents, siblings, teachers and peer group. It also include different values which are the part of their culture. All of these things provide a context for a child’s cognitive growth and development.
During the ages of 3 to 5, preschoolers’ thinking skills are undergoing tremendous change. Their ability to understand different thoughts, people, events becomes more complex. They begin to think about how and why things work in the world. however, they displays many cognitive limitations. So, A teacher plays most important role in their cognitive development. She understands their strength and weakness. She can best support them in their cognitive growth.
Here are some teaching methods, that can be used to encourage cognitive development by the teacher:
1. REASONING AND PROBLEM SOLVING
In the preschool years, A child most of the times asks for explanation of why and how things occur. They also tries to explain how things work and why things occur. They are curious to know the reason behind everything and loves to solve different problems. So, teacher should more focus on thought-provoking questions to develop their thinking skills. Discussion sessions can be scheduled among students in the class to develop their reasoning skills.
A teacher can give them problem solving projects like she could present students with “building materials” such as craft sticks, glue, paper and straws and ask them to figure out how to build a house of their own using only what is given to them.
2. METACOGNITIVE KNOWLEDGE
Metacognition refers to thinking about thinking or knowing about knowing. Children needs awareness in three areas AN AWARENESS OF KNOWLEDGE, AN AWARENESS OF THINKING, AN AWARENESS OF THINKING STRATEGY. So teacher should provide opportunities to notice thinking. self assessing and self questioning must be the part of day to day activities.
Here, teachers can motivate children to reflect on their own thinking and learning by allowing time for a post-book activity. Teacher can ask children to draw a picture about what they learned. Teachers can also ask students to name one thing that they learned from the book or she can ask to write them the story in their own words.
Preschoolers’ memories are affected by their prior knowledge. Child at this age learns new concepts and ideas more easily when they already have a good knowledge about the subject. They understand more when the topic is linked with everyday lives or some meaningful projects are given to them. So, If teacher is teaching about zoo, she should ask students to recall and discuss a time when they visited zoo. She must repeat important concepts twice and thrice in the classroom. Play way methods are always helpful at this age.
4. SOCIAL COGNITION
Social cognition also called emotional intelligence, plays a vital role in children’s social and emotional development. So,it is important to understand what it is and how a child’s environment can affect the development of this skill. At this age, children begin to understand why and how others feel. Their communicative abilities begin to increase. A teacher must be good in understanding child psychology to promote social cognition. With careful planning and knowledge of cognitive development during the preschool years, teachers can promote cognitive growth through everyday activities such as story time. Enhancing a child’s thinking can be as easy as opening up a book.