Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Abstract Thinking and Problem Solving

Does your child think abstractly? Is he at an age-appropriate level for cognitive development? The latest computerized toys may be hurting his development.

Dramatic play promotes abstract thinking. When children use a prop (like a block) to stand for something else (a phone for instance), they are learning to think using symbols. The block symbolizes the phone. And that kind of thinking is the basis for just about everything children learn in school. After all, letters and words and numbers are really symbols for real objects or quantities. Dramatic play also encourages problem solving, and if children are playing with others, it builds social and emotional skills: learning about other peoples’ feelings and perspectives, negotiating, cooperating, etc. They also learn how to respond appropriately to others. In dramatic play kids can be anything they want just by pretending and that’s emotionally satisfying and builds self-esteem. --Ann Barbour, Ph.D., Early Childhood Education Professor

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