Critical Thinking – Shady Oak Primary School

Critical Thinking

We Teach Lifelong Critical Thinking Skills

Establishing critical thinking skills at an early age gives children a remarkable advantage. This is another example of purposeful education. Critical thinking means students are building on their existing knowledge to figure out a new piece of data. It gives them the ability to tap into their own resources. Here’s how we instill critical thinking skills in our students.

Play-based Learning

We use play-based and collaborative learning approaches. This stimulates a child’s critical thinking. There are many ways to teach 2+2. We try to figure out how the child wants to learn their best way to get the correct answer, 4. Play-based learning allows students to solve a problem in a safe and fun environment. When it involves a team working together to find a solution, it fosters critical thinking. Students draw knowledge not only from their teacher, but also from other students.

Real-world Interactions

We are not teaching our children in a bubble. Learning does not only happen within the school grounds. We walk around our neighborhood. We explore our community. We encourage community service. We want our students to recognize they have not only the ability to contribute – they have a responsibility to contribute. We adopt charities and do work for them that can be done on campus. For example, we helped out an episodic homeless program for mothers and children who have been displaced. We organize and wrote all the thank you cards that were delivered to donors. It was a huge help for a non-profit already strapped for volunteers. And it’s a notch in the belt of critical thinking skills for our students.

The Power Of Reflection

Improvement happens so much quicker when we are willing to critically review what worked and what didn’t. We believe in instilling great lifelong habits in our students and reflection is one of the most important habits a child can learn. At the end of each class, students pull out their journals and record in either picture form or the written word, what they learned; what did or did not get the results they wanted. This allows them to use their own ideas to make improvements for the future.

Genius Afternoon

The whole idea behind purposeful education is to find the best way a child learns. That will be different for each student. We educate individuals so, we want our students to figure out what they enjoy doing. Then we figure out how to educate them with that in mind. One way we do this is by holding “Genius Afternoon” every Friday. Students are given the opportunity to explore something that is interesting to them. Over time they develop a plan for how they’re going to pursue the subject. Then they’ll present their plan to the rest of the class or school. This puts the power of learning directly in our students’ hands.

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