Complex Learning Starts Early Says Research
The development of higher-order thinking was previously attributed to knowledge acquisition and schooling. In other words, people used to think that children only developed these important life skills in school. A longitudinal study, however, shows that other skills play a role in the child’s ability to reason analytically.
Analytical Thinking Starts Before Formal Education
Children begin to show signs of higher-level thinking skills as early as 4 years old. This is according to a research at the University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The study followed the progress of children through a test given to them at intervals – first when they were 4 ½, next when they were in first grade, and then in the third grade, and lastly when they were 15. The tests they took measured executive function, analytical reasoning, short-term memory, vocabulary knowledge and sustained attention.
The findings showed for the first time that executive function has a role in the development of complicated analytical reasoning. The executive function skills pertain to complex skills like monitoring, planning, task switching and controlling attention. High executive function skills when children begin school is linked to higher than average reasoning skills when they grow into adolescence.
In addition, the study found that there is a strong relationship between the children’s high vocabulary, monitoring and response control skills with their ability to comprehend analogies when they grow older.
Higher-Order Thinking and Experiential Learning
With regards the curriculum, children can benefit largely from experiential learning methods such as those promoted by institutions like LogicMills. Experiential learning helps hone not only their higher-order thinking abilities, but also develops their social skills, intellectual curiosity, self-awareness and out-of-the-box thinking as well.
Various studies suggest that parents can help in the development of a child’s executive function early in life by sending them to a preschool, engaging in impulse control training, and exercise. Both knowledge and inhibitory control and executive functions contribute to the development of their analytical reasoning.
With help from a parent, children can develop their potential earlier and maybe even go further in life.