Young children are naturals at analysis and reasoning. They want to understand. They want to solve problems, experiment, and compare. And we can help them!
First, let’s look at what Analysis and Reasoning means. To analyze is to look closely or examine, and to reason means to form conclusions or inferences based on what we know or experience. Every time a preschooler asks questions, predicts, classifies, compares, or evaluates, they are practicing analysis and reasoning skills.
Children need adults to practice many of these thinking exercises at a deep level. It is not enough to ask a single prediction question. What matters most are the back-and-forth exchanges that follow an activity—the ways a teacher keeps challenging and supporting children.
We can promote higher-order thinking through analysis and reasoning in everyday tasks, not just during a science experiment. Below are just a few question "starters.” Then it’s your turn to seek inspiration from other CLASS dimensions as you consider how to respond to children to keep the thinking going.
Playing with Blocks:
On a Nature Walk:
Reading a Book:
The ability to think critically is what allows us to gain a deeper understanding of concepts. How else do you bring Analysis and Reasoning into your classroom?
As an infant classroom teacher, you know that talking to babies is important. For instance, you tell the infants in your care what they are looking at (“You see the new block basket on the shelf!”). You label objects (“You have the red ball!”). And you describe events that take place in the classroom (“The tray just fell off the table! That scared you.”). These are all examples of talking with babies. Why, then, can it be so challenging to do this consistently in the classroom?
A few years into teaching early childhood, I applied to work at a school that does incredible work in the local community. I was thrilled to get an interview but realized very quickly that, even though the environment was supportive and the students were wonderful young people, I was much too intimidated to work there.
One of the best things about teaching is having a fresh start every morning. Greeting your students plays an important part in setting the tone of your classroom. I like to think that, as teachers, we get a chance to make a good first impression each day. Let's take a moment to consider the impact greetings can have with students, not only at the beginning of the school day but throughout the day as well.
We all know people are naturally social beings—we need interactions to survive. But just because we’re naturally social doesn’t mean we know how to be social. We have to learn social behaviors—from our families, caregivers, and peers. Teachers play a key role in promoting social development, which includes peer play and friendships.