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?
How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I posed that question to a random selection of contacts via text message. What did I discover? Everyone in my sample group spreads on the PB first, then the J. There are a variety of ways though to apply the jelly, but in my random group, the jelly always comes second.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make me think about Behavior Guidance, a dimension in the CLASS® toddler observation tool. Especially the first two indicators of behavior guidance: proactive and supporting positive behavior. Proactive is the peanut butter! It goes first. That layer of peanut butter is the base for the jelly, which promotes positive behavior.
I was a kindergarten teacher for eight years at a public school. I loved my job, but somewhere along the road I started to become crotchety. I was often annoyed with my colleagues and frustrated with the demands of the district, and I was sure I knew better than any training or professional development session I would ever be forced to attend.
Shared physical presence is a large part of how we’re used to connecting with each other. Strong connections and relationships are important for children who may have recently experienced loss, high stress, or trauma. As teachers connect with children in a virtual setting, it can be more challenging to think about how to create a safe space for learning, sharing experiences, and taking risks.
When COVID-19 hit and schools shut down, many of us were certain that it would not impact the 2020-21 school year. But after more than 18 months, it’s clear that the pandemic is still with us. The length of the pandemic has only heightened concern about COVID related learning loss - especially among underserved populations.