The intellectual development of children is far different from that of a child as their physical, psychological systems vary in size and in content. The development process of these systems is most prevalent in younger stages as overall body growth is in effect. In this paper, we shall be analyzing; problem solving skills and their development in children in context of, environment for thinking development in children. It is of importance to lower grade instructors and parents so that they may identify the skill of the child, problem solving, and adjust his/her environment to ensure maximum development. Problem solving is the skill involved with the mental processes that involve collection, processing and coming up with solutions about a particular problem (Cherry, 2014).
Children are the next generation of leaders and it is important that they understand how to solve problems of varying complexities as early as their childhood so that they be prepared for their lives. The general view of problem solving revolves around eliminating a situation which is not pleasing to ones current circumstances. It is expected that a child with unique problem solving skills or a normal established problem solving knowledge to have a more productive future (life) than that of a child who has difficulties (Freund, 1990). An alert child has way better chances of prospering in the real world than a child who has difficulties in problem solving.
Problem solving ability is not always the same as it depends on the mental of the child. Special need children prove to need more time to solve problems. There are other cases of poor parenthood or unsuitable background for example ignorant parents and abusive or drug abusing guardians. The circumstances which a child grows up in greatly influences their outcome as adults; based on the way a they analysis their environment, a child from a poor background might slump down at life or be encouraged to rise above his/her current circumstances. This however is expected as cognitive achievements reciprocate from knowledge gained on that particular subject (Swanson, 1993)
Children get their intellectual knowledge from what they perceive from their environment. In this case, the parent or guardian serves as the role model who the child exemplifies and from whom they acquire this skill (Freund, 1990; Keen, 2011). This concept is not selective or intelligent in the sense that it can distinguish right and wrong ideals to use. Therefore, a child will accord his /her environment regardless of the moral direction the ideals point to
Exposure to numerous situational conundrums sharpens the mind of the child to identify a problem that requires solving and also equips his/her with numerous tools as he/she has seen used to solve similar looking situations (Pettit, Dodge, & Brown, 1988). That is why the theme portrayed by most parents to their children is that of imminent joy. This is crucial for healthy intellectual growth.
Information about children problem solving skill and training should be made more available readily from reports through research and surveys to help parents know what method to apply for their child and also to help them understand when they should come in (Keen, 2011). The correct method should be used to train the child of problem solving so as to ensure they are able to understand and apply that knowledge they gain in executing similar problems.
Changes in Children’s Thinking
Every concept or perception or basically everything is susceptible change. Language changes over time to include new or borrowed vocabulary, the climate changes after years of being tampered with as evidenced by global warming. As all these items, cognition is also an evolving concept and it has proved this by the illustrating how environment greatly influences the way of thinking of not just children but adults as well. Cognitive development among children does not occur in isolation rather in an open environment where there is interaction. It is during these interactions that a child is able to perceive and understand a perspective of life he/she did not know of (Robson, 2006).
This concept of changes in children’s thinking can be used to explain behaviors that are seen to manifest at adolescent stage. This theory can prove that such behaviors as introversion or extroversion are created during childhood and only manifest at this stage because of increased social interaction.
It is common that the growth of anything; plant, knowledge starts somewhere, there has to be a spark for fire to occur and that smoke is brought after a fire. It thus the same for problem solving problem where, when there is prior knowledge of a given field, there is great likelihood of such objects to be attractive to the subject. For our case, a child after staring at simple patterns for a long time develops the mind to be able to handle complex patterns and he/she seeks them out. A child exposed to simple problems will find even tougher situations to try and solve. It is generally known that people like to k now more about what they have an idea of as is the case of a child learning his/her native language which is very simple (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
It shows possibility of application of this information to creatively engage children in activities that encourage the growth of their problem solving skills. This has also highlighted as to who is really the first teacher to a child, the parent or the teacher, it is clearly the parent thus they must learn to take up that duty and engage their children in positive development activities.
It is through such a report that one is able to identify that not all children are the same and that there are exceptions whose lack of problem solving skills is but a bad stroke of luck (Graham, 1972). Therefore it is easier to offer special attention to the less fortunate and bring them up to a comfortable zone in their learning when you have adequate information regarding the proven existence of intellectual gap among young ones.
Challenges to Cognitive Development
Technology is the new threat to both the selected theme and the area of study. This is because people are switching to computers and other data processing tools for problem solving giving no room for the normal; perceiving, processing and interpreting of data with the mind. Thus a child will only learn to use technology to solve his/her problems giving no room to accumulate prior knowledge. This creates a generation of poorly equipped persons who are expected to lead the nation in the future.
Another challenging issue is drug and substance abuse. Even a greatly educated adult can be turned into an intellectual delinquent though drug and/or substance abuse. The alarming rate that alcohol consumption is becoming a norm even among young people is a cause of major concern as far as intellectual development is concerned and especially problem solving ability. Some of the substances consumed cause impairment of judgment or confusion such that a comprehensive solution cannot be achieved in the state of their ‘high’.
In conclusion, the issue of cognitive development is the key to understanding the entire human species in terms of behavior and how they reason. The first educational or learning equipment that children are equipped with are language oriented. Thus more should be done to aid the children in their endeavor, like introducing cues as some of them learn to do independently so that their language is short of vocabularies but have a broad spectrum upon which it can be used (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
It is because the things learnt as a child is what develop and eventually shape the lives of adult humans. Therefore problem solving just like any other component of cognitive development is a vital study area and in-depth understanding will produce materials not only for academic use but also information to guide the intellect development path. It is clear from the information summed in this paper that childhood intellectual growth is vital for a good adult life and that this growth is not spontaneous but is the result of nurturing by parents/guardians.
Freund, Lisa S. maternal Regulations of Children’s Problem-solving Behavior and Its Impact on Children’s Perfomance. CHILD DEVELOPMENT, 1990, 61, 113-126.
Siegler, R.S., & Alibali, M.W. (2005). Children’s thinking 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Cherry, K. (2014). What Is Problem-Solving? Retrieved March 09, 2015, from About Education: http://psychology.about.com/od/problemsolving/f/problem-solving-steps.htm
Freund, L. S. (1990). Maternal Regulation of Children’s Problem-Solving Behavior and Its Impact on Children’s Performance. Child Development , 113-126.
Graham, R. M. (1972). Seven Million Plus Need Special Attention. Who Are They? Music Educators Journal , 22-25.
Keen, R. (2011). The Development of Problem Solving in Young Children: A Critical Cognitive Skill. Annual Review of Psychology , 1-21.
Pettit, G. S., Dodge, K. A., & Brown, M. M. (1988). Early Family Experience, Social Problem Solving Patterns, and Children’s Social Competence. Child Development , 107-120 .
Robson, S. (2006). Developing Thinking and Understanding in Young Children: An Introduction for students. Park Square,Milton Park: Routledge.
Swanson, H. L. (1993). aAn Information Processing nalysis of Learning Disabled Children’s Problem solving. American Educational Research Journal , 861-893.
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