5 Important Research-Based Cognitive Development Tips for Teachers

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In their first few years of life, a child experiences rapid cognitive development. Motivated by curiosity, young children are always reaching important new stages of cognitive development through diverse activities that promote creativity and critical thinking. Whether you’re a parent, infant teacher, or toddler teacher there are endless ways you can encourage cognitive development at home or in the classroom!

Cognitive Development of Three- and Four-Year-Olds helps parents and teachers to effectively promote cognitive development in an engaging and beneficial way. Check out these research-based tips you can use to support the cognitive development of your little learners today.

1. Believing in Magical Thinking
• Magical thinking- a rather irrational belief that by just wishing for or thinking about something you have to power to cause it to happen.
• When you’re aware of some of the tendencies among three- and four-year-olds, you can better support the challenges that might occur as they develop their cognitive skills.

2. Demonstrating a Sense of Curiosity
• Preschoolers want to know how things work, what happens if they try some new activity, where things come from, and so on. Their curiosity steers them in interesting directions.
• What you can do:
         o Offer the unexpected.
         o Create a novelty center.
         o Invite a mystery guest.

3. Understanding Time Concepts
• Three- and four-year-olds care most about what is happening in their world right now, but they also enjoy looking forward to events in the future and hearing stories about the past.
• What you can do:
         o Facilitate timely transitions. Develop special signals so that preschoolers will know it is time to end one activity before transitioning to another.
         o Play beat the clock. Help children develop a sense of the passage of time. Together decide on a certain number of minutes to work cooperatively to pick up a designated area. Then set a kitchen timer. See if the preschoolers can clean up before the timer dings. Did they beat the clock?

4. Exploring Creativity Through Art
• Preschoolers explore their creativity in many ways throughout the day. This chapter focuses on creating with art, but opportunities arise when young children solve scientific and mathematical problems, engage in dramatic play, sing or play music, write a story, and create an exciting new snack.
• What you can do:
         o Accept mistakes.
         o Support independent creativity.

5. Developing spatial awareness.
• Three- and four-year-olds can learn about spatial concepts through experience and practice, games, play, and other everyday interactions.
• What you can do:
        o Play games. Have fun developing spatial awareness skills through games.
        o Encourage movement in space.

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