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Higher level thinking developed through play

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One thing our parent education at Midland Preschool has really been focused on this year is cognitive
development. As an overwhelmed and/or new parent you may just try to make it through your day without
crying.  We’ve all had those days. Then, we have the days where our child spontaneously counts to 20 or
creates a block tower on their own and then we feel like we are doing okay as a parent after all.
Counting to 20 and reciting the ABC’s from memory is a great parent pleaser, but why are memory skills
not the only answer to our child’s later achievement? Because memory skills alone lack depth. Depth of
learning will give additional support to your child’s developing cognitive thinking skills. Thinking skills are
imperative for everyone, but if started as a toddler, the child will have a better foundation to aid the
development of higher level thinking skills as they grow older. Teaching toddlers to think may not seem
necessary when you spend 30 minutes trying to get your young child to put clothes on so you can leave
the house. But speaking from experience, I can attest to what a value it is to have a child who can see a
problem and think of multiple ways to fix it.
If there is a problem presented to a child, like having dirty hands, for example, a toddler with stronger
cognitive thinking skills will be more easily able to think of a few different ways to solve that problem.
Instead of going head to head with your toddler over cleaning up or witnessing a loud tantrum; maybe the
child will be able to use the cognitive skills they have practiced in play to think of different ways to solve
the problem themselves. Maybe a child will think of using a towel, water, baby wipes or a bath as a way to
clean up and all without a meltdown. As a parent who has practiced fostering this skill learned at a
cooperative preschool, you will find your experience raising a toddler much more enjoyable.
How do you foster this type of learning? Through play…Lots and Lots of play. Counting and memorization
(worksheets, apps) are also thinking skills, but for a toddler, they won’t as easily lead to higher level
thinking skills as those skills developed through play. At our school, cognition is the main focus in our
thoroughly researched and specifically developed curriculum. Come play with us!

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