Problem Solving Skills Need Practicing
Children’s early years are critical and valuable in developing lifelong problem solving skills. In the early years, problems can be identified as simple as how to put shoes on, and as difficult as how to handle conflicts.
The most common problem seen in the nursery class is to deal with the concept of sharing. We often see children having conflicts about their friends grabbing toys from each other. They have not yet understood that sharing a toy is not the same as giving it away.
As teachers, when we see conflicts arising, the first thing we need to do is to ensure there are no harmful actions. We approach the children calmly and acknowledge their feelings and emotions by telling them, “I can see you are very upset.”
Then we follow by asking the children what happened. Some children may have more advanced verbal abilities while others may not have, it is very important to gather information from both sides. Sometimes we observe the conflict and assist the children with the vocabulary they need to describe the situation.
The next step is very crucial. We help children identify and label the problem and make sure they agree upon it. When identifying the problem, we want to find the underlying reasons “why do the children fight over the same toys?” rather than “why do they grab toys?”.
Here comes the most important step —- ask the children for ideas/solutions on how to solve the problem. At this age, young children may still need teacher’s support in offering them some possible solutions, and by doing this, we help them recognize that there are numbers of ways they can choose to achieve their desires.
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