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In This Issue
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Critical Thinking

 
Critical thinking is a skill that young minds will undeniably need and utilize well beyond their school years. Critical thinking skills are essential for good decision making and long-term academic and professional success. Childcare experts agree that in order to keep up with the constant changing technology advances, students will need to obtain, understand, and analyze information on a much more efficient scale. As educators, it's your job to promote critical thinking to the best of your ability. However, keep in mind that it will take years for children to develop into true "critical thinkers."

In simple terms, critical thinking is the brain's way of solving complicated problems and deciding whether or not something is true or feasible. More specifically, critical thinking skills enable humans to draw logical connections between ideas, to construct and evaluate arguments, to detect inconsistencies and mistaken reasoning, to solve problems analytically, and to develop and reflect on one's personal beliefs and values. Prior knowledge and experiences play important roles in critical thinking, but knowing is only half the battle. Critical thinking is far more than the ability to recall and apply information: it is about making inferences and predictions, drawing conclusions and judgments, finding solutions to new, complex problems, and seeking relevant sources of information and guidance.

In the early childhood environment, the use of open-ended or ambiguous objectives like explore, play, or experience can promote a wide array of learning, as long as the teacher recognizes that individual children will express varying interests and skills during unstructured activity. For teachers, the challenge is to design an environment in which all children can progress and improve regardless of individual skills and interests. With that being said, an ambiguous objective (such as explore, play, experience, etc.) might require more work, planning, and guidance on the teacher's part, but it also promotes critical thinking, and is a developmentally appropriate approach in the early childhood environment.

Early science and math activities promote critical thinking, including activities requiring observations, determining cause-and-effect, sorting, logic, and compare-contrast. Furthermore, many literary-based activities promote critical thinking, as well, such as learning to differentiate facts from opinions, identifying true-false statements, and a host of story and writing activities. Regardless of the subject, it is always helpful to ask open-ended questions, which require more than a yes or no answer. Encourage children to use their language and express their ideas, and critical thinking skills will follow.
 
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Critical Inquiry in Early Childcare
Article Courtesy of naeyc.org
 
As an early childhood teacher, I believed that young children could discuss injustices and consider multiple viewpoints. I was curious to know more about the personal and professional process of forming curriculum based on children's experiences with injustice. In this teacher research study, I examine critical inquiry with young children. Critical inquiry as an approach to teaching gives children curricular space to explore inequities in their lives and hopefully find ways to create social change. View Article 
 
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Promoting Critical Thinking
Article Courtesy of p21.org

In Ellen Galinsky's book, Mind In The Making, she identifies seven essential skills for preparing children to be successful in the 21st century workplace. Among these are critical thinking, making connections, and participating in self-directed engaged learning. Systems Thinking (ST) embodies these skills and more. Galinsky states that these skills "involve weaving together our social, emotional, and intellectual capacities" and "begin to emerge during the preschool years."  
 
View Article
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This Month's Trial Course: Critical Thinking in Preschool   
 
CCEI offers COG101: Critical Thinking in the Preschool Environment as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of August.

Critical thinking is the ability to use information and skills in a variety of ways in order to solve problems. The development of critical thinking skills involves a long process, and ultimately the goal is to build high-level skills involving analysis, evaluation, and creation. However, children need to build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge first. CCEI's Critical Thinking course focuses on Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains and includes relevant classroom activities. Understanding the role of open-ended questions, developmentally appropriate practices, and strategies for incorporating critical thinking into the classroom are also covered within this one-hour online course.
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Alumni Profile   
 
Amanda Amaya
Oklahoma City, OK   
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Congratulations to Amanda for successfully completing the Online Self-Study Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate Program of Study!

Amanda began her career in child care at a young age while helping take car of her six younger siblings. She loves greeting the children in her care as they arrive every day, and enjoys activity time as well! The children in Amanda's care like outdoor time, and they love snack and lunch time! Amanda is motivated by knowing that she is able to make a difference in young children's lives every day.  
 
In her spare time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, whether it's watching a movie or going to the park, she loves the time spent with her family. In the future, she plans to earn her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Amanda is currently working toward obtaining her CDA Credential from the Council of Professional Recognition. She recommends CCEI to everyone and says, "I would recommend CCEI to everyone! It's a great way to earn your training at your own pace!"

Congratulations, Amanda! CCEI is proud to call you a graduate!   
 
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Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit www.cceionline.edu for more information or to enroll online.

 

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