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Cognitive Development in children refers to progressive growth in intellectual abilities, such as attention, thinking, reasoning and memory. Most cognitive skills are learned, and can be improved with practice and the right training. The GB activities with this symbol enable children to process sensory information and develop crucial skills to evaluate, analyse, remember, problem-solve, make comparisons, and understand cause and effect.
Creativity is defined as one of the key skills in the 21st century learning framework. The skill is about generating new ideas and transforming them into something tangible. It often involves being inventive, resourceful, innovative, and imaginative. We all have creative capacities; it just needs to be honed.
Creative expression, through various forms like visual and performing arts, story telling or imaginative play, give children an opportunity to innovate, create as well as represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel uniquely.
Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles in the hands, fingers and wrists to perform precise movements and tasks. Activities with play dough, building blocks, puzzles, or puppets, not only help build fine motors, but also develop a neat pincer grip. Pincer grip is the use of index finger and thumb to hold small objects.
Strong small muscle control helps children with the movements used in writing, eating, dressing and cutting.
Pretend or imaginative play is not just simple child’s play; the process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas. Children taking on imaginary roles, while playing alone or with playmates, allow them to actively experiment with the social and emotional roles of life. It helps regulate their thought process and make sense of the world around them. They also learn effective communication, self-expression and empathy, taking turns, sharing responsibility, and creatively problem-solve.
It is because of the development of this imagination during childhood that, as adults, we are able to do many of the tasks in our daily lives. We constantly use our imagination to help invent new things, visualise, problem-solve, understand others’ perspectives, make plans, come up with ideas, and think creatively. Using one’s imagination, through pretend play, is a critical cognitive and language building tool in early childhood learning.
Science is not simply a set of facts – it is a process of thinking, observing, investigating, predicting and making sense of how things work. The natural curiosity and inquisitiveness in young minds gives us a unique opportunity to facilitate and inspire STEM learning in them. Projects with this symbol allow children to discover, explore and engage in hands-on science experiments, which promote critical thinking, logical reasoning and analytical skills.
The first few years of children, when the brain is evolving and maturing, are the most crucial for acquiring vocabulary and language skills. These skills develop best in an environment that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to new words and language related activities. Building word knowledge is the most important piece of developing strong language and communication skills.
Children with a good grasp on language are able to express themselves well, understand the ideas of others better and learn new information faster.
Early literacy tools and activites help develop oral language, vocabulary, comprehension, as well as foster reading and writing skills.
Hand-eye coordination is the ability to coordinate the information received through the eyes with the hand movements, to accomplish a task.
Hand-eye movement needs several things to happen all at once to be successful. The visual input through eye movement is processed in our brain. The brain then sends a signal to the muscles to move to a specific location. The muscles then control the movement of the fingers or hands to accomplish tasks.
Concentrated activities are required to develop hand-eye coordination to achieve even the most basic everyday jobs such as eating, getting dressed, writing and picking or catching an object.
Gross motor skills control movements that involve large muscles in arms, legs and the rest of the body. These skills are crucial for performing daily essential tasks such as standing, walking, running, and sitting upright. Activities mentioned under this skill will help facilitate physical development, muscle control and balance, through various means.
Sensory skills such as taste, touch, vision, hearing, and smell are integral to the development of motor skills. A smooth integration between the two gives children the ability to sense things and then move their body in relation to those sensations. Sensory and Motor Skills projects will allow children to stimulate their senses by exploring and manipulating various materials through fun-filled play. This will further help enhance cognitive and physical development.
Environmental awareness is to know and understand our delicate environment and the importance of its protection. It is important to start children with the right attitude and educate them of our impact on atmosphere, fresh water, soils, forests, oceans and other animals. Projects with this symbol are aimed at acquainting children with nature and educating them on the need to respect and protect the environment.
Much like language, math is another way to understand and make sense of the world around us. Like words, we use math in our day-to-day life, most times without even realising it. Math is being used while observing, identifying, descripting and explaining of numbers, space, relation, and order. Counting, sorting, measuring, reasoning, analysing, problem solving, and identifying shapes and patterns are all math activities. Early learners need opportunities to learn mathematical concepts through play and simple activities, to lay a strong foundation for math development in future.
Reading comprehension is understanding and interpretation of what is being read, and not just listen to the sound of the words. Fostering it through activities in young pre-readers is essential to have strong reading, text processing and analysing skills later in life.This symbol identifies activities and games that give children an opportunity to expand their vocabulary, and understand and make sense of the text.
Inculcating positive life values in children is as critical as teaching them about reading, writing and math! Social and moral values like responsibility, compassion, cooperation, courtesy, patience, perseverance, respect, self-awareness and self-discipline, will naturally evolve them into caring and responsible adults, who will make socially responsible decisions.
Vision and sound are two primary senses that help us take in information from the environment around us. Visual and auditory processing skills are not just to help children obtain, but also process and organise the information in their brain, and interpret what they see. Children are not born with this skill, it has to be learned and developed.
Children with well integrated visual and auditory learning enhance their perceptual and cognitive development. They are able to remember and recall new information better, when it is represented and learned both visually and verbally. The most significant period for auditory-visual development and the ability to integrate is ages 4-7. Their intellect development is positively related to their proficiency level of auditory-visual integration skills.
Organisation and structuring involves identification of important information, and using it in a systematic manner to complete a particular task. These skills become increasingly important as children develop in their personal as well as educational space. Being organised and structured is an important aspect of social interaction, personal management, as well as academic performance.
Children with good organisation skills handle information in an effective and logical way, set priorities, make plans, stick to a task and get things done in an effortless manner.
Logical reasoning is an ability to think through a situation or problem, and apply strategies to resolve them. Children, through activities, projects and experiments, observe, ask questions, and then use the information to predict consequences. Logical or rational thinking helps refine a child’s high‐level thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.
Knowledge is essential for conceptual development and long-term academic achievement. Perpetual how and why questions, not just increase the knowledge base, but also facilitate critical thinking. Children with rich knowledge base are more successful at learning new information.
Children who possess greater knowledge show strong oral language and reading comprehension skills, critical thinking and reasoning abilities
Fostering world awareness and international collaboration in children is of extreme importance in today’s inter-connected world. Encouraging awareness towards diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles means building a flexible and open value system with mutual respect and appreciation. It helps develop an ability to respect, recognise and collaborate with a diverse set of people. Focused activities and projects bring our diverse world to children.
Social skills are building blocks for positive relationships. It allows children to initiate, build and maintain healthy interactions with others, as well as helps them to understand and manage their own emotions and feelings. This symbol identifies activities and games that give children an opportunity to understand cooperation, collaboration, patience, negotiation, sharing, and fair play.
Language and communication skills include the ability to understand others as well as express themselves using words, gestures, or expressions. During the early years of life, children’s brain develops rapidly and lays the foundation for learning. The interactions and level of language stimulation that children have, during the first few years of life, influences how they learn. Children who develop strong language and communication skills are more likely to be successful in later years.
Pattern recognition is a an ability of the brain to not only find patterns, but also figure out, in a logical way, what those patterns suggest about what is coming next. It is an ability to recognise order in jumbled forms or situations. Patterns are found in images, ideas, words, symbols, and numbers.
The ability to recognise, identify, and create patterns not only supports mathematical and scientific learning; it also contributes to social development, as patterns can also be found in behaviours, routines as well as nature.
All enquiries, by young children, begin with the skill of observation. Observation is acknowledged as an important initial skill in early development. In the early years, observation involves not just the sense of sight, but all other senses as well. Observation, as part of play or exploration, is more appropriate for younger children, like sorting and classification, observing a sprouting seed or focusing on similarities and differences between living things. Enquiry skills, such as prediction, measuring, classification and interpretation, develop from observation. The interaction with right kind of activities, tools and resources determine how these skills are developed and honed.