Digital Dilemmas in Preschool and Beyond
Using critical thinking skills to approach cyber security and your preschooler.
The Critical Thinking Child Difference
How Our Test Prep is Actually “Think” Prep
A few years ago a dad came to me seeking test prep services for his four-year-old daughter. As an educator, this isn’t unusual, but this specific instance was memorable to me for three reasons:
- His guilt and regret about neglecting to test his first child (a bright and intellectually curious six-year-old) for the gifted kindergarten program. His son was an early reader and academically ahead of his preschool peers, but they didn’t seek testing.
- The sacrifices his family made based on their financial priorities. They focused on three key areas: education, health, and retirement. This meant he invested big bucks in his children’s education.
- His anxiety and stress around figuring out which resources to buy and how to best help his bright, shy 4-year-old daughter so she could excel academically on the day of the gifted test.
Like this parent, you invest in education because you expect the best for your child. You want them to learn and grow in the most beneficial way possible. I know, as I experienced the same with my children. I wanted them to see learning as a positive experience, one they looked forward to.
Unfortunately, many academic organizations focus too much time and energy on old-school techniques, like rote memorization, drilling, and lower-level thinking skills.
Test prep is particularly guilty of this. Young kids learn to cram and memorize skills which are often forgotten and rarely applied after the test.
In a perfect world, you want your child to learn skills that are sustainable. When tested, you want them to feel calm and ready to put their best foot forward, not anxious and overwhelmed. This is why I built The Critical Thinking Boot Camp for Kids: to be fun and engaging and, above all, useful beyond the test. It’s about think prep rather than test prep.
Here are a few ways in which The Critical Thinking Child Boot Camp for Kids stands apart.
We build confidence
With activities that take into consideration all possible learning styles, our program is geared to your child’s exact needs. This helps to break down barriers and make learning accessible to all of the students. Even better, children are able to practice learning in their dominant and their non-dominant learning styles, which helps to boost their confidence.
We also help to create an atmosphere of healthy competition. Instead of comparing students to one another, we focus on individual progress. We teach our students to identify their own academic strengths and opportunities for improvement. We also teach them to celebrate their mistakes, using positive praise to help them learn and grow. This fosters a growth mindset and helps them understand that learning is a lifelong process and it is okay to make mistakes.
Additionally, we take time to model and demonstrate all of our lessons. These examples, combined with critical thinking questions, help students become familiar with a variety of concepts, even when they are presented in new ways. We start practicing at a young age to help students develop these skills early.
We take learning beyond the classroom
When I first created The Critical Thinking Child Boot Camp for Kids I wanted to create an atmosphere where parents and children were companions in learning. We bring parents into the equation, providing the tools and resources necessary to make learning an everyday experience. This includes a Parent Mastermind Group and various online learning opportunities. We show children how to think critically about their world, and we help parents promote this way of thinking at home.
In doing this, we help ensure that young learners continue to practice their critical thinking skills no matter where they are. Easy-to-implement tools make it simple for parents to guide their child. As a result, the young learner is able to create a lifelong habit of approaching their world with curiosity and a joy of learning.
We also help students become comfortable with using technology as a learning tool. Through technology, we enhance the learning experience, rather than interrupting it. This allows students to continue learning even outside of the classroom. All of our learning tools are designed and developed by award-winning educators and local teaching artists, so you know your child is getting a great experience.
We are founded on fun
Because true critical thinking is rooted in inquiry and discovery, I aim to help young learners understand their world through play. The activities presented during test prep help students think about their world in a way that makes sense to them. We encourage children to have fun and to ask questions, stretching their creative muscles in the process.
This means incorporating a wide range of activities throughout sessions, including visual art, science, music, arithmetic, and even origami. Each of these activities is designed to help students understand abstract topics in a fun, accessible way.
We don’t teach to the test, we teach to the student
Many test prep organizations simply drill students on possible test topics. Not only is this approach ineffective and boring, it limits learning.
Instead of focusing mainly on memorization and worksheets, we focus on the thinking process itself. Our goal is to help nurture children’s natural curiosity, rather than frustrating them. With this in mind, we focus on activities that advance a child’s true and natural abilities.
As a result, students gain confidence in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, reading, math reasoning, listening skills, and memory. They also learn which test prep strategies work best for them.
At The Critical Thinking Child, we instill a lifelong passion for learning
The Critical Thinking Child LLC has helped countless students successfully prepare for classical and gifted admissions tests. More importantly, we have shown students that learning is a process of discovery. We bring the joy back to learning and promote a lifelong love of curiosity.
We believe that by helping children think critically about the world, we are helping create adults who will be able to change it for the better. As a result, our students have greater problem-solving skills, verbal and non-verbal skills, and transferable skills across multiple subjects. Our parents feel confident in their child’s academic path, and our students are excited to participate in a fun learning environment.
“Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” This program is very popular because some believe that modern educational systems have been dumbed-down to create robotic, mindless automatons. Kids can only reach their full potential using critical thinking.
There is no reason that the education of your child has to stop just because there is a teacher’s strike. Enrichment can occur from homeschooling tutoring – all that you need is the material from a teaching professional to guide you. This guide will be available in May 2016 as a parent handbook on the educational activities parents can perform with their own children at any point in time.