Researcher Ellen Galinsky identifies the ‘Seven Essential Skills Every Child Needs’ in ‘Mind in the Making’ theory. She suggests that ‘to navigate the world, children need to focus, to determine what is important and to pay attention to this, amid many distractions. Focus is one of the essential skills we need to promote in our children.’
Channelling the executive functions of the brain helps us manage our attention, emotions and behaviour, in order to reach our goals. This is why it is useful to introduce critical thinking in children, in order to form concepts and judgements.
‘It is clear that there is information children need to learn – facts, figures, concepts, insights, and understandings. But we have neglected something that is equally essential – children need life skills.’
Blocking out distractions and learning to focus is a skill needed throughout education. This involves focusing on goals and grasping concepts that are taught by focusing undivided attention on what is being taught.
Figuring out how things work through play. Learning cause and effect, creating different reactions through different modes of play. This is how hands-on learning helps with developing critical thinking.
Providing time to think and reflect upon the task or activity they are completing. It is important to let children have time to work out solutions for themselves before assisting.
Wait and allow time to encourage children to learn for themselves before giving them a hand. This helps them develop executive functioning skills, a range of skills that help with staying focused and self-monitoring.
Instead of providing the answers to questions children ask, try and help them by asking what they think the answer could be. This aids with critical thinking, as they will learn to become inquisitive and think rationally instead of asking for the answer. Encourage children to think about what they have asked and what they think about it.
Inspire learning by encouraging children to investigate further, whether it’s for educational purposes or for reflective thinking. Ask why they’ve come to a certain conclusion, whilst thinking about the learning journey.
Innovative thinking helps to develop children’s problem-solving skills. Help them to form their own views and opinions by questioning their processes and methods. Monitoring their learning and thinking of new ways to learn and considering all of the solutions of the learning process will change the way they think, encouraging critical thinking.
Encouraging critical thinking in children helps them to be driven by learning goals. It’s a method that involves using memory to keep a number of different concepts in mind at the same time, whilst paying attention, thinking flexibly and avoiding going on automatic pilot. Through applying all seven executive functions, it allows us to monitor feelings and thinking so we can ‘reflect, analyse, plan and evaluate.’
If you’re interested in Ellen Galinsky’s ‘Seven Essential Skills Every Child Needs,’ read more about it here.
Wondered how to make learning fun for children? Find out more on our blog.
Encouraging creative writing for children has a number of benefits. It improves English and writing skills, spelling, creativity, communication skills, to name a few! It’s also great as a hobby, letting children’s imaginations run wild and write for fun.
According to creativity psychologist, Stephanie Dudek, ‘creativity plays an important role in technological advance, in the social and behavioural sciences, and in the humanities and arts.’
Here are some benefits of creative writing:
Creative writing improves vocabulary, whilst developing children’s unique writing style. They may discover that they prefer writing in one particular genre, or explore many different types of writing! Grammar and spelling also improve with writing practice! The GCSE English Language syllabus involves creative writing, so it’s great preparation for that, too!
“Creative writing aids language development at all levels: grammar, vocabulary, phonology.” (Craik & Lockhart 1972).
Creative writing involves making up plots, scenarios and characters, in a way which will intrigue the reader. This stimulates the imagination and widens children’s thought processes, which is applicable to many other subjects! Creative writing can be an escapism for children, allowing their mind to become immersed in an imaginary world.
As well as developing an individual writing style, creative writing also allows children to express their thoughts and feelings in a fictional world. Sometimes children find it difficult to express themselves, or are unsure how to, so writing acts as a safe place to let out emotion.
Creative writing has been linked to reducing stress levels by decluttering the mind and controlling emotions. This can boost mood and improve mental wellbeing, through participating in this beneficial and fun extra curricular activity.
Encouraging creative writing for children has numerous educational benefits, as well as being a great stress-relief exercise! It is also great practice for the creative writing English Language GCSE syllabus.
For additional help with English, encourage time for creative writing as a hobby at home! There are many ways to build confidence in English, read our blog on expanding your child’s vocabulary here.
StudyBox also offers after-school tuition in English, sign up here for a free trial! Or chat to one of our friendly tutors on 0203 189 1442 for more information.
The mock exams for GCSEs are a way of measuring student’s progress, ahead of the official GCSE exams. They determine which GCSE paper the student will sit and which set they go into. Due to the difficulty of the GCSE exams, as well as the removal of coursework from many subjects, it is a way of measuring how well students are coping.
Learning times tables can be a challenge for children, as there are multiple sequences to learn, from 1 up until 12.
Children start learning times tables in Key Stage 1. Times tables are really important to learn as they are the building blocks of maths; they make division, adding and fractions easier.
Knowing your times tables will come in handy for exams, like GCSEs, SATs and 11+, especially the non-calculator exams!
Here are some ways to make learning times tables that little bit easier:
Learning times tables is a skill for life. It increases ability and confidence with maths in future, as we use times tables throughout school and into adulthood, too!
Need additional help with times tables? Sign up for a free trial with StudyBox here! Or call the centre to chat to one of our friendly tutors: 0203 189 1442