Asking the Right Type of Questions, Stimulates Brain Growth for Daycare and Preschool Students
Questions are important when it comes to learning. When a child asks a question, they are taking an independent and active role in their own learning and development. By asking questions, children are able to work out how their world works through the information that they learn. Questions also help to enhance skills related to critical thinking which develops our brainpower.
Questions are also a way of communicating and when children ask questions, they are looking for information from someone they think is knowledgeable and they trust. Therefore, questions help to build strong relationships between children and adults.
Questions for Babies and Toddlers
By the time a child is 2 ½ to 3 years of age, they are able to use language to ask questions. However, it is possible to ask questions without actually using words. Take for instance a toddler or a baby in daycare, they may be asking a question when they:
- Look at you with a puzzled face
- Point to something
- Try to reach for a person or an object
- Touch something
- Take a close look at something that interests them
When your baby or toddler asks a question without using language, try and think about what question they may be thinking of. i.e. “ Are you trying to say that you don’t like the noise of the dog barking and you want to sit to you on my knee?” In order to work out what question your child may be thinking of, you need to put yourself in their shoes. When you say these questions out loud to your child, you stimulate brain growth by developing their language skills.
How to Respond to Questions
As much as we need to respond to what a child asks, we need to try and not jump in and answer it straightaway. The reason for this is so that your child has the opportunity to work out the answer himself, using you for support.
How to create opportunities, which encourage questions
There are a few different ways that you can nurture a child’s thinking skills and their curiosity.
1. Interesting objects to discover
An example could be to place four different stones on your dining table and don’t say anything about them. When your child discovers them, they are likely to ask a question about them. If you choose objects that your child finds interesting, they will want to explore them as children are born with a drive to learn about things that are new to them. This will provide you with a great opportunity to ask them questions.
2. Sharing a book together
When you share a book with your child, even if it doesn’t have any words, there are lots of opportunities to talk about the book and ask questions.
3. Create an environment which encourages curiosity
Provide opportunities for children to explore with sand and water or art and music. These activities enable children to work out how things work and the role of different tools and objects. Where a child discovers something new, this can also stimulate lots of new questions.