Website Educational Tips for Cognitive Development
Educational practices are most effective when they are attuned to the way
individual children learn and develop. The goal of the following
developmentally appropriate techniques and activities is to enable adults
to help children become active learners to grow and reach their fullest
Infants: Crawling Like Animals
Studies have shown that young children who miss the crawling stage in their
early development have more learning disabilities when they get to school.
Since crawling is so important in the development of both hemispheres of
the brain, adults should encourage children get down on the ground and act
out the movements of various animals such as dogs, cats, and farm animals
such as cows and sheep using their hands, feet and their body. They also
should be encouraged to make the sounds of these animals.
Toddlers: Tree Mascots
Adults should encourage the children to pick a tree growing nearby to be
their own personal mascot. They can help the children take photos of the
tree as the season’s change, to make a chart. The adult can write captions
of the photos of the tree using the children own words describing the
tree’s changes and appearance. The children can notice if their tree might
be helping other creatures, such as birds and squirrels. If their tree
mascot is a young tree the children can plot the growth in terms of its
height and fullness.
Preschoolers: Pudding Tarts
Teach young children the nursery rhyme The Queen of Hearts, and
talk about their choices in life. Some are easy, some hard, some good and
some not so good (like taking the tarts). Discuss that all choices come
with consequences and these too can be good or not so good. Make “Pudding
Put a graham cracker in a small zip-lock bag. Have the children pound it
with a block until it is in crumbs. Pour the crumbs into paper cupcake
cups. Encourage the children to help make pudding using a wire whisk to mix
milk and instant pudding. Pour the pudding onto the paper cupcakes cups.
Talk about what they are doing and what changes are taking place while they
are doing it.
Adults need to lead from behind: Offer only enough feedback to help
children figure out the problem. The adult’s role is to be an “active”
listener who repeats and reviews and occasionally gives advice. Be careful
not to take over the project. Respect and support children’s efforts to
work thorough their own problems.
Children don’t have to be amazing to start. They just have to start to