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It's a busy time of year...

This is the time of year where things seem to get so busy and there are so many demands on our time. It can feel like things are spiraling out of control - and the kids behavior is spiraling too!

Ensuring that you have routines in place for key times in the day can make all the difference in times of high stress. Here is a link to a short article on routines that may help in these busy times!

The Parental Involvement CONNECTION Newsletter, is another great resource. This edition of the newsletter includes articles about teaching children gratitude, healthy holiday eating, and social media safety.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS...

Learning to think critically may be one of the most important skills which today's children will need for the future. So how can we best support and teach our children as they are developing critical thinking skills? Here are some tips and ideas to help children build a foundation for critical thinking and grow them into problem solvers:

  • Provide opportunities to play. It is during play that children test their thinking whether dropping a spoon over and over again off the side of a high chair tray; rolling two marbles down a chute to see which is faster; seeing what happens when you dip chalk in water; or mixing cornstarch and water to make "goop". Providing space for playing, including time for outdoor or pretend play, can provide open-ended opportunities to try something and see the reaction; try something else and see if you get a different reaction. This informal process of testing how things work is crucial to critical thinking.

  • Help children view themselves as problem solvers and thinkers by asking open-ended questions. Rather than automatically giving answers to the questions your child raises, help them think critically by asking questions in return: "What ideas do you have? What do you think is happening here?" Respect his or her responses whether you view them as correct or not. You could say, "That is interesting. Tell me why you think that." Use phrases like "I am interested to hear your thinking about this." "How would you solve this problem?" "Where do you think we might get more information about this problem?"

  • Don't solve all problems immediately for children. Instead ask some of the questions above and provide enough information so children don't get frustrated, but not so much information that you solve the problem for them.

  • Help children develop hypotheses. "If we do this, what do you think will happen?" "Let's predict what we think will happen next."

  • Encourage thinking in new and different ways. By allowing children to think differently, you're helping them hone their creative problem solving skills. Ask questions like, "What other ideas could we try?" or encourage coming up with other options, "Let’s think of all the possible solutions."

  • Support your child to research further information. You can help your children develop critical thinking skills by guiding them towards looking for more information. Say, "Now how could we find out more? Your dad knows a lot about this. Shall we ask him? Or shall we try searching on the computer?"

Of course there are times when you can't take this much time for your child to reach an answer on his or her own. At those times, it is okay to take short cuts. Children also learn from observing how you solve problems. However, when you can, taking time to allow your child to think through problems will be hugely helpful to developing your child's critical thinking skills in the long run.

Downloaded from: http://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/e-family-news/2014-developing-critical-thinking-skills-in-children/#sthash.xzxm4hlM.dpuf

MARK YOUR CALENDAR...

DECEMBER
  • 8th - Picture Retakes
  • 9th - Reed Holiday Choir performing at Parents as Teachers Holiday Event 6:00 @ LEO
  • 10th - Reed PTA Snowy Social - 5:30-7:00
  • 14th - Polar Express/Pajama Day for 1st, 2nd, 5th grades
  • 15th - Polar Express/Pajama Day for Kinder, 4th, 3rd, PK/SLE/ELE
  • 18th - Holiday Parties and PTA Planetarium presentation
  • 21st-1st - SCHOOL HOLIDAY

LEADER IN ME - Habit 5 Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood means that it is better to listen first and talk second. By taking the time to listen to another person, you reach a higher level of communication. Teaching Habit 5 to young children is done by first considering their age and development. Young children find it difficult to understand another’s paradigm (point of view). This habit is best approached by introducing listening as a skill that should be practiced. Learning to listen without interrupting and learning to listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart will help children build a foundation for Habit 5. Simply put, we have two ears and one mouth so that we can spend more time listening with the intent to understand.

Body language can be even more important than word. Play a game with your kids where you each try to guess the other’s emotion (happy, sad, angry, frustrated, bored, etc.) without using any words, just body language.