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Babies are immersed in a highly social environment starting from the early months after birth. This social environment not only includes interaction with people such as the parents, siblings, relatives, classmates and teachers (at a later stage), but also with various objects and values that are part of their culture. These all offer a context for kid’s cognitive growth and development.

At the ages of 3 to 5 years, the thinking skills of preschoolers are undergoing huge changes and their ability to utilize representational symbols that stand for objects, events, people and thought which all began in toddlerhood are becoming more complex. At this age bracket, preschoolers also begin to utilize logic to think about why and how things work the way they do in the world around them. But regardless of the tremendous cognitive gains in the preschooler years, the kids are not little adults, meaning that they still display a lot of cognitive limitations.

As such, teachers in licensed daycare in Thornhill form an important part in the kid’s cognitive growth. And one way for teachers to fully engage preschoolers thinking ability is through engaging them by reading quality kid’s books that encourage the aspects of cognition such as problem solving, metacognitive knowledge, reasoning, symbolic play, social and memory cognition.

Here are brief explanations of some of the teaching methods and activities that can be used to promote cognitive development in kids.

Symbolic play


The ability to engage in symbolic representation is one of the hallmarks of preschooler’s thinking skills and capacity. For example, a block of wood might become a telephone or a car. Unlike toddlers, preschoolers have a greater understanding of the difference between what is real and not. As such, make-believe kind of play needs to be encouraged by daycare staff or teachers when the kids are in their preschool years.

Because these kids are able to identify with characters in books, reading captivating stories that show different characters engaging in symbolic play is a perfect way to inspire them to participate in pretend-play. After reading the stories in different but attention catching story books, the teachers or daycare providers should present the kids with their own play items and see what creative ways they play with them on their own.

Problem solving and reasoning aspect

During the preschooler years, kids attempt to explain how things they come across work and why they are the way they are. Although their explanations often seem far-fetched to adults, their stream of how and why questions display a real desire to reason and solve problems about different causes of events. To hone in on their natural curiosity, teachers need to pose thought-provoking questions as they read aloud to them.

Some children books offer the best chance for the kids to ask how and why things change. Daycare providers or teachers must try and help the kids to understand the natural causes of phenomena so as to push their cognitive development beyond the mere observation of superficial changes in the appearance of things. This is a cognitive limitation that is often displayed at this age.

Teachers also are encouraged to utilize other techniques to fully promote reasoning and problem solving such as the use of children’s books as an introduction to problem solving activities. After reading such books, the teachers or daycare providers should present the kids with building materials such as paper, glue, straw and craft sticks and ask them to figure out how to build a house of their own.

Metacognitive knowledge

This refers to thinking about one’s way of thinking. Young children’s capacity to use mnemonic strategies or to explicitly monitor their own learning is quite rudimentary. For instance, it is easier for preschoolers to remember a small list of items than a longer one. The same kids cannot spontaneously use a rehearsal strategy to remember the list as this is beyond their years. It is not until beyond the preschool years that these kids are able to acquire knowledge of strategies that affect their learning and memory.

Daycare providers are recommended to encourage the kids to reflect on their own thinking and learning by allowing enough time for post-book activities. Writing their responses on a whiteboard aids the kids to fully understand the individuality of their learning and thinking.

Social cognition

This refers to thinking about others while in a social situation. As kids grow, they gain new cognitive skills to fully understand how the social world around them works and grows. Preschoolers in this regard, have already started to understand the mind as an entity of thought and are therefore better able to understand why feel the way they do or behave.

While these kids are able to show theory of mind, as they ability to grasp things is referred to, they are limited in their ability to understand the perspectives of others. But as they continue to grow, their communicative ability begins to increase. Reading books about feelings and how they relate to behaviors and thoughts is a perfect way for daycare service providers or teachers to promote social cognition.

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