Here are a few real world examples of how early care and education providers who work with school age children can incorporate critical thinking skills:
Using Critical Thinking
• Consider the experiences of the children in your group when planning the routine. What did they experience during the day? Is there anything I can do to make the day better? How can I adjust my routine to give them space to transition from one environment to another?
• Remain objective, calm, and open minded as children express themselves, either through words or actions.
• Research topics relevant to the children in the group, i.e., bullying. Compare strategies, weigh the pros and cons, and consider your students. Choose to implement a program that best fits the needs of the students in your care.
• Make it a habit to reflect each day on what happened and how you responded. Evaluate your responses to determine if there are other responses that would lead to improved outcomes in the future.
• Explain the goals of your program to children and families in a way that convinces them to take on an active role.
• Ask children for their opinions when making decisions about the program, curriculum, activities, materials, etc.
Promoting Critical Thinking
• Discuss current events, ask children to share their thoughts on the events. When appropriate, share the perspectives you hold with children about events happening in your community.
• Create a system for collaborative problem solving in the classroom. Use the system when problems arise and encourage children to do the same.
• Talk with children to assess the consequences of actions.
• Play games that include higher order thinking skills.
• Provide many sources of information that children can access to learn more about topics and issues. Talk with children about the perspectives and ideas shared in different sources of information.
• Encourage creativity and ownership, promote leadership roles, and provide a safe space for children to take risks.