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PUTTINGONYOURTHINKINGHATS SimpleExercisestodoatHometoPromoteYourChildsThinkingSkills.

Thinkingskillslikeanyotherskillissomethingthatishonedthrougheverydaypractice.It involvesacomplexrangeofmentalprocessessuchasproblemsolving,decisionmaking, criticalthinking,logicalreasoningandcreativethinking.Theabilitytothinkoutsidethe boxorcreative/lateralthinkingcanbeseenintheingeniouswaysthatinventionsare developed.However,withinformationaccessedatthepressofabuttonthroughtelevision andinternet,childrenarelimitedintheiropportunitiestodeveloplateralthinking.Itis importantforusadultstohelpchildrenberesponsiblefortheirownlearningandtohelp themknowmoreabouthowtheythink. TheThinkingHatsstrategydevisedbyEdwarddeBonoisoneoftheforemosttechniques usedinhelpingchildrenandadultsextendtheirwayofthinkingbywearingdifferent thinkinghats.Hispioneeringworkrevolutionizedthenotionthatindifferentsituations differenttypesofthinkingisrequired.Whatismoreessentialisthatbyusingthethinking hatschildrenareencouragedtoreflectontheirownthinking.Motivatingthemtothink outsidethebox. TheSixThinkingHatsproposedbydeBonoarethefollowing: 1. WHITEHATsymbolizesfacts.Itfocusesontheinformationavailableandneeded. Questionlike,whatcolorsaretheflag?areansweredusingtheWhiteHat. 2. YELLOWHATsymbolizesbenefitsorthegoodnessoutoftheinformationorevent.It tellsaboutthebenefitsgained,whatarethevaluesandpotentialsthatareattachedto it.Beingthesunnyandpositivehatittellsthebenefitsofasuggestionandwhyitwould work. 3. BLACKHATsymbolizesnegativeeffects.Itexaminesthedifficultiesandproblems associatedwithatopic.Ithighlightsweaknesses,cautionsontheimminentproblemsas wellastherisksinvolved.Aquestiontoyourchildlikeifyouplayinthehousewithyour ballwhatmighthappen?,usingtheBlackthinkinghat,willresulttoananswerlikeI mighthitsomethinganditwouldbreak.Thisisthehatofjudgmentandcaution. 4. REDHATsymbolizesfeelingsandhunches.Itsuseislimitedto30secondsandismeant tounderstandfeelings.Toooftenweletouremotionsmakeourdecisions.Redhatgives usaseparatecontexttostateourtruefeelingsandthenexploretheirimplications. Whataremyfeelingsnow?Whatdoesmyintuitiontellme?SimplyputRedHatthinking looksatatopicfromthepointofviewofemotions,feelingsandhunches. 5. GREENHATsymbolizesimaginativethinking.Itencouragestheuseofcreativesolutions toproblems.ItseekstoanswerquestionssuchasArethereotherwayswecoulddo this?Whatelsecouldwedo?.GreenhatthinkingofferssolutionstoBlackhatthinking problems.Whatshouldyoudothenwiththeball?Playtheballoutsidethehouse!
6ThinkingHats,byLanaK.Jelenjev,TutorTimeInternationalPreschoolandKindergarten PublishedinParentsGuide,March2009

6. BLUEHATsymbolizesunderstandingandreflection.Itmanagesthethinkingprocessby settingtheagendaanddecidingonthenextstep.Itwrapsuptheprocessbymakingthe decisions,summarizingandconcludingontheactionstaken. WhitehatFactsYellowhatGood RedhatFeelingsGreenhatCreate BlackhatCautionBluehatUnderstanding HowcantheSixThinkinghatsbeadaptedathome? SixHatThinkingcanbeappliedtomanysituationsinwhichbrainstorming,problemsolving, creativeandlateralthinkingarerequired.Thisstrategyisnotjustusefulforadultsbutcan beusedineverydayinteractionswithyoungchildrenaswell.Withtheuseofthistechnique, childrenlearntounderstandandinterprettasksbetter,makestheirfeelingknownandthus feelthattheiropinionsmatter,andfindpossiblesolutionsandriskstotheiractions.Most importantlyitpromotesreflectionontheactionstaken.Youdonthavetositdownasa familyandwearthehatstomakeitatangibleexperienceforthechildren.Therearealotof waysinwhichtheThinkinghatscomeintoplaywiththedailyinteractionsathome.Hereare someactivities/questionsthatyoumightliketotry: Thinking Children13 Children46 Hats Whitehat Thisismostlyusedthroughsharingof Childrenatthisagecanbeaskedto givespecificinformationto information.Childrenatthisageare questionsasked.Butinsteadofthe inneedofadultswhocanstimulate usualwhatisthat?questionsyou thembyidentifyingobjectsfoundin canusetechniqueslikeIspywith thehouse,pointtoobjectstouched andmanipulated.Byconstantlyasking mytwoeyes(somethingthatis roundandbounces)whatisthat? yourchildwhatisthat?you encouragetheuseofwhitehat Anotherfunactivityisaskingyour thinking. childtolookatwhathe/sheis wearingandthentodescribein detailwhathe/shehasonwhile closinghis/hereyes. Itisalwaysbesttostartearlyin MakeaHowdoIfeeltodaychart. helpingyourchildgaincontroland Pastepicturesofdifferent masteryofhis/heremotions.Atthis expressionsandpastethemon agethemostimportanttaskistohelp piecesofcardboard.Onabigboard yourchildidentifyhis/herfeelings.By writeHowdoIfeeltoday?and namingtheemotionsattachedtoa usingaclothespin,letyourchild particularactionoreventitmakesa hangthepicturethatexpresses connectiontoyourchildonhowto howtheyfeelonthatperiod. feelincertainsituations.For YoucanalsopromoteRedhat example,bytellingyourchildIknow thinkingwhilereadingstorybooks youfeelupsetwhenMommyleaves bypointingouthowthecharacters youtogotoworkhelpsthem musthavefeltduringthattimei.e. identifywhattheiremotionis.

Redhat

6ThinkingHats,byLanaK.Jelenjev,TutorTimeInternationalPreschoolandKindergarten PublishedinParentsGuide,March2009

BlackHat

Yellowhat

Showingthempicturesandtelling themhowthepersoninthepicture lookslikealsohelpsthemdevelopan understandingofemotions(i.e.Look theboyinthepictureissmiling,heis happy.Canyoushowmeahappy face?) Childrenneedtoknowtheir limitationsandBlackhatthinkingisall aboutteachingchildrenproper judgmentandcaution.Itdealswith thewhatwouldhappenif scenarios.Forveryyoungchildren teachingthemaboutcauseandeffect isveryimportant.Notonlyfortheir safetybutalsofortheirunderstanding oflimitsandrules.Beforesayingno allthetimeitisbettertostarttelling theminshortphraseswhyyou wouldntwantthemtodocertain things. Whatbetterwaytostarttelling childrenaboutbenefitsthantostart byusingpraise.Atthisage,children learntorepeatbehaviorsbasedon theresponsetheygetfromsignificant adults.Bytellingthemhowyou appreciatetheireffortsandactionsit laysthefoundationforpositive affirmationandactions.

Whatdoyouthinkthefirstlittle pigfeltwhenhishousefelldown?

Childrenatthisstageneedsrulesto reinforcebehaviors.Bymaking HouseRuleschildrenarereminded onwhattodoandwhatnottodo. Sitdownasafamilyandwrite downwhatyouthinkshouldbe partofthehouserules.Rulescan beassimpleasUsesoftvoice whentalkingandshouldbe writtenpositivelylikeWalk insteadofDontrun.

Greenhat

Artsandcraftsarenotjustfor aestheticpurposes.Bydoingartsand craftswithyourchildrenyouare developingcreativitywhichis essentialtoGreenhatthinking. Childrenatthisstageneedstobe exposedtoopenendedartactivities wherethereisnorightorwrongway ofdoingtheactivity.Trymaking spongepaintings,useplaydoughs, collagesandotherinterestingart activitiesthatallowyourchildto

Atthisstage,itiscrucialfor childrentoknowthattheirvoices areheard.Bygivingthemsimple choiceslikewouldyoulikean appleoranorange?childrenare madetofeelthattheircontribution matter.Decisionmakingisapartof dailylifeandchildrenshouldbe givenopportunitiestopracticethis skill.SetthestageforYellowHat thinkingbypracticingaskingyour childWhatgoodwillitdoifwedo this? Imaginationisbestfosteredwhen materialsathandofferslimitless suggestions.Beforebuyingyour childanewtoy,trytoaskyourself, willthistoybeusedforone purposealone?Whatelsecanitbe usedfor?Iftheanswertothese questionsareyesandIdontknow thenitsbesttolookforothertoys tobuyyourchildren.Construction toyslikeduploorlegoblocksare alwaysasurewaytopromote

6ThinkingHats,byLanaK.Jelenjev,TutorTimeInternationalPreschoolandKindergarten PublishedinParentsGuide,March2009

makeuseofdifferentmaterialsin differentways.

creativity. Creativityisalsofosteredwhen readingtoyourchild.Greenhat thinkingispromotedbyasking Iwonderif? Whatwouldhappenif? Timeoutsasaformofdiscipline hasbeenadebatableissue.For sometimeoutsspeciallyforyoung childrenisnotsuitableandshould bedoneonlyasalastalternative. Insteadredirectionanddistraction shouldbeusedasformsof behaviormanagementtechnique. However,forchildrenthisagethey canbetaughttoreflectontheir actionsbylettingthemStopand thinkaboutwhattheyhavedone. Byplacingtheminaquietplace andcalmingthemdowntoreview whathasjusthappenedgivesthem opportunitiestoreflect.Although thiscanbedifficultwhendealing withtantrumsbutlettingthem assesstheirbehaviorsaftercalming downisveryimportant.

Bluehat

Theadultsaretheoneswhowearthe bluehatsatthisparticularstage.They areprimarilyresponsibleinteaching veryyoungchildrenhowto understandtheirbehaviors.Children atthiscrucialageneedthesupportof adultswhoareconsistentandreliable inmakingrulesandroutines,carrying onwithdecisionsandanalyzing eventsandactions.

PascalandBertram(1997)identifiedkeyfeaturesofadultbehaviorthatpromotegood qualitythinking,learninganddevelopmentinyoungchildren: Sensitivity:Theadultsabilitytobeawareofthechildrensfeelingsandemotional wellbeing,toempathizeandtoacknowledgechildrensfeelingsofinsecurityandtooffer supportandencouragement. Stimulation:Theadultsabilitytoofferorintroduceanactivityorresourceinapositive, excitingandstimulatingway.Itisalsotheabilitytoofferextrainformationorjoininwith playinawayinwhichextendschildrensthinkingorcommunication. Autonomy:Theadultsabilitytogivethechildrenthefreedomtoexperiment,supporting childrenwiththeirdecisionsandjudgments,encouragingexpressionofideasandinvolving childreninrulemakingforeveryonessafetyandwellbeing. Thinkingisthemostfundamentalofhumanskills.Asprimarycaregiver,weparentshavethe taskofteachingourchildrenhowtothinkspeciallysincetraditionaleducationdoesvery littleaboutit.Haventyoueverwonderedwhereis'thinking'inthecurriculum?Dontwait foryourchildtostartgoingtoschooltoteachhim/herhowtothink.LikewhatRonald Kotulak,authorofInsidetheBrain:RevolutionaryDiscoveriesofHowtheMindWorks,wrote
6ThinkingHats,byLanaK.Jelenjev,TutorTimeInternationalPreschoolandKindergarten PublishedinParentsGuide,March2009

Whenitcomestobuildingthehumanbrain,naturesuppliestheconstructionmaterialsand nurtureservesasthearchitectthatputsthemtogether.Letusnurtureourchildrento thinkitsnevertoolatetostartnow.

6ThinkingHats,byLanaK.Jelenjev,TutorTimeInternationalPreschoolandKindergarten PublishedinParentsGuide,March2009