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Important areas of childhood preschool development occur at different stages. The process involves learning and mastering skills in different areas. Although each child develops at their own pace, there are certain developmental milestones.
Child Development Milestones In Preschool
There are five main areas of development that a child will experience in their preschool years;
- Cognitive Development: the ability to learn and solve various problems.
- Social and Emotional Development: the ability for a child to interact with others with an element of self-control.
- Speech and Language: the ability to speak and understand language in a comprehensive manner.
- Fine Motor Skills: the ability to make smaller movements with specific muscles e.g. holding a crayon.
- Gross Motor Skills: the ability to use the larger muscles in an effective way.
Problem solving skills are an important part of cognitive development. These skills are essential in both academics and everyday life. Preschool plays a vital role in developing this skill by prompting problem solving activities and providing the toys and activities to help teach this skill.
The Importance Of Problem Solving Skills
As an adult, problem solving skills are used on a daily basis for both seemingly menial tasks, and for overcoming larger challenges. For example, deciding on a what time to leave the house in order to arrive at an event on time, and deciding on how to approach finding employment both use problem solving skills.
Without realizing it, these skills are developed and refined from a young age. As a result, problem solving skills are an essential part of preschool development. Teaching a child these skills at preschool will lay a strong foundation for a future of healthy and well-thought out decision making. Children will learn from a young age to look at situations both practically, and with an open mind.
It is important for parents to slowly relinquish the role of being problem solver, and start handing over the responsibility to their children by giving them the opportunity to solve problems for themselves (or at least try to). By doing so, children learn how to make decisions independently, and be responsible for the decisions that they make. Learning to do this in a healthy and nurturing preschool and home environment will give children the safe space to make mistakes, and learn from them.
Problem solving skills also produce self-confidence and build self-esteem amongst preschoolers when they successfully solve problems. In addition, problem solving skills develop creativity, a mind of persistence, proactivity and the skills of collaboration.
The Process Of Learning Problem Solving Skills
Problem solving at preschool level can still be taught in a fun way, however there is a process of teaching the skill that betters the child’s understanding of the process. Preschool activities that encourage problem-solving will typically follow these basic steps.
The first step is to help the child identify the problem. These problems can start small, and eventually introduce a child to more challenging problems. Encouraging a child to describe the problem ensures comprehension of the situation, and develops the child’s communication skills.
Secondly, the child is encouraged to brainstorm solutions for the problem. At this stage, collaboration can be encouraged to gain more perspective, and urge the child to further discuss how they would approach the problem.
Choose one of the solutions, and discuss the possible outcomes of the solution. Steps of action can be developed, and a proactive approach verbally applied to the situation, discussing possible outcomes of the solution.
Finally, the solution is practically put to the test, giving the child an opportunity to assess and reflect on whether or not the solution works, or doesn’t.
Encourage A Problem-Solving Environment
A good preschool will help develop your child’s problem-solving skills in a caring and nurturing environment, however it is also possible for parents to create problem-solving moments to learn at the home.
Parents can provide hands-on investigation opportunities for children to explore, encourage children to practice creativity by suggesting alternative ways of completing activities, brainstorm open-ended questions with children, and allow children to find their own solutions for everyday problems.
Preschool is an incredibly important phase of a child’s development in all skills areas. Choosing a certified, quality preschool near you will ensure that your child is exposed to wonderful learning activities that lay foundations for future successes.