Thinking Skills in the Early Years
Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities is an integral feature of the Foundation Stage Curriculum (CCEA, 2007), which is to become a requirement in all Year 1 classrooms from September 2007 and in all Year 2 classrooms in the subsequent school year. This report was commissioned by the CCEA to provide teachers and practitioners with some practical guidance about how thinking skills can be enhanced in an early years classroom and how to assess whether young children are thinking in a constructive way.
The report is based on two sources:
- a survey of key literature on the development of thinking skills in young children; and
- in depth classroom observations (taken over a period of two consecutive days) conducted in four Year 1 classrooms identified as offering a high quality learning experience as part of the Enriched Curriculum Pilot Project (Sproule et al. 2005).
Using the evidence from the literature base as well as best examples from classroom practice, the findings were analysed according to:
- the adults’ role;
- the physical environment; and
- the children’s actions
in terms of how thinking skills can be effectively promoted in early years classrooms.