Critical thinking skills are important for your child to acquire for kindergarten success. To shine at a Manhattan kindergarten admissions interview, your child needs to know more than “just the facts” and should exhibit creative and critical thinking skills.
I’m sure your child knows the ABC song. Can he identify each capital and lowercase letter out of sequence? Does he know the sounds each letter makes? Each of these critical thinking skills brings your child closer to learning how to read.
Can your pre-kindergartener tell you the main idea of a familiar four-year-old book such as Knuffle Bunny? Can he tell you how he would feel if his favorite bunny, lovey, etc. was lost? Can he anticipate what is going to happen next in the story?
Using wordless picture books encourages children to add details to descriptions, and often helps provide original thoughts. Try suggesting your own unique ideas. Can your son be flexible and build on your comments?
Critical thinking is all about knowing HOW to think. Critical thinking skills go beyond memorizing facts. Demonstrating critical thinking skills reveals your child is capable of original thinking, problem solving and creativity.
What are some things you can do to help your pre-kindergartener get ready for his Manhattan kindergarten admissions interview?
- Try out for a group science class such as the coveted AMNH program, a cooking class, or a class at MoMath to allow your child to hear multiple responses children his age may have to share.
- Play category or compare / contrast games. You can try this type of structured task, complete household chores together (sort laundry (by family member, by type of clothing or more challenging: by family members type of clothing (e.g., dad’s shirts on the bed, mom’s socks on the dresser, etc.), or encourage your preschooler to clean up after a messy playdate by placing each type of art supply into its respective bin.
- Ask open-ended, thought provoking questions (vs. yes / no questions or choice questions).
- When you read a story about a situation your child has experienced, or a place your child has visited, encourage him to make connections. Ask him what he would do to make the visit better, ask him to elaborate on his thoughts / thinking.
The rote skills we learned in school (e.g., counting, days of the week, months of the year, state capitols, planets, periodic table of elements, events leading up to WWII, etc.) are still critical for your child to learn, but knowing how to use the information functionally is just as important.
Should you feel your child needs support with critical thinking or general kindergarten readiness, and you live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, please feel free to contact Stephanie Sigal, M.A. CCC-SLP, speech-language therapist. Stephanie looks forward to hearing from you!