How the Young Academics Team Promotes Cognitive Development in Early Childhood
Whether your child attends one of our Young Academics Centres or learns at home with you, it is important to keep in mind how critical their early childhood years are for their cognitive development. At Young Academics, our team is trained in promoting healthy cognitive development at different stages of early childhood. Through play, fun educational activities and more, our educators nurture the minds of your children, preparing them for a bright future.
What is cognitive development and why should early learning centres promote it?
Cognitive development refers to how children think, explore and problem-solve. As you can imagine, thinking, exploring and problem-solving are central to understanding the world, making it imperative that parents and educators nurture children's minds.
Children develop in a number of different ways at different times throughout their childhood, however, cognitive development is, arguably, one of the most important areas of progression for a variety of reasons. Here are a few pertinent skills that are related to cognitive development:
- logic and reasoning,
- critical thinking,
- prolonged attention span and,
- evaluation and analysing skills.
According to UNESCO, early childhood, defined as the period from birth to eight years old. During this stage, children are highly influenced by the environment and the people that surround them. This is based on Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory. At Young Academics, we educate and care for children during this critical stage of early development, from birth to six years.
How do Young Academics educators promote cognitive development at our centres?
Understanding that cognitive development is divided into two relevant age groups, the Young Academics team have developed programs for these age groups with our Evolution Program (0-4 years) and Transition to School Program (4-5 years). These programs focus on the following elements ensuring the nurturing of your child’s minds.
- Help build sensory skills
As Toddlers learn through their senses, our educators create opportunities for them to experience different textures. Through messy play, finger painting, clay work and supervised structured and unstructured play, the senses of babies and toddlers are exposed to several stimulating experiences that will help them to understand the world around them.
- Promote exploration through natural play spaces
To further your child's understanding of the world as well as to help build their sensory skills our educators will safely monitor them as they explore our indoor and outdoor natural spaces.
For toddlers, this helps them construct their understanding of the world as well as to experience different textures (e.g. smooth, and rough). For children, exploration in a natural play space helps to develop their inquisitiveness and stimulates their creativity and problem-solving skills - both of which are integral to cognitive development.
- Facilitating trial and error tactical play
By encouraging children to engage in trial and error tactile play through one of our many structured activities, they are encouraged to problem-solve. Whether it is through exploring scientific processes and concepts children are tasked with developing different solutions to problems.
For cognitive development, this builds on their problem-solving skills, however, it also develops their critical thinking skills and imagination. While our educators will provide gentle guidance and advice, they primarily leave the children to explore different ways of solving problems as this is how they ultimately learn.
Our educators use storytelling in more than one way to promote cognitive development at our centres. This first method is by telling a story to a group and then asking questions about the story. Questions provoke memory recall, critical thinking, and creative thinking. This method will prompt children to develop their creativity and imagination as they start to think about what characters and places in a story may look like.
The second way produces a similar effect with one bonus - it improves a child's language skills. After an educator has told a story to a group, they will ask the child to retell the story. As mentioned before, this improves the child's language skills and memory as they learn to memorise the story to retell it.
We hope that this article provided insight into how our educators work to nurture your child's mind. If you have any questions for our team, don’t hesitate to contact us.