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Hi everyone,


I am hoping that you can help as I am drawing a blank and need some inspiration...


I work in Nursery and since September I have had thinking skills groups - the children work in groups of about 5 once per week. I had to do this because they were so passive - they didn't question anything, get excited by anything and would shrug their shoulders when asked a question (my uktimate bugbear!)

Examples of activities I have done so far are:

- Look at pictures and talk about what they think is happening in the picture (Eg, floods, earthquakes, people laughing, space, earth, their local environment...)

- Describe objects for the children to guess then they have a go at describing for a friend

- Complete a jigsaw together

- Use bricks and talk about what it is they are going to do and how

- Have an object in a box but don't reveal it, shake it, feel it... what do they think is inside and why?


It is a little bit like the P4C stuff so if anyone has any appropriate questions for early year I would be really greatful!



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We have a similar group that one of my staff does each week. But we call it the Nuture Group. We use it for the ones that are shy and don't talk very much.


They either look at a book together or play a board game.


I am hoping it might make them more confident in whole group situations???

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I just want mine to question things and take notice rather than being so passive and blank! It seems that they are used to being put in front of the TV and not spoken to at home (sweeping generalisation and obviously not all of them)


Do you have any ideas about other things I could with them? Any questions to get them thinking?



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perhaps instead of group work, just let the children use their imaginations and play at what interests them , enhance the areas of interest, over time they will question and answer,


finding out what interests them so that often means working individually as all children vary in their interests


use conversation instead of questions and answers


some children as im sure you are aware are shy in answering, they are young and you just need to give them time

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Guest pamgreen

Have you read The Thinking Child: Brain-Based Learning for the Early Years Foundation Stage and there is also a resource book. Both are brilliant and offer lots of practical ideas to promote thinking skills. You can get them from amazon

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I am definately going to continue with the thinking skills groups they have brought the children on so much and the children love doing it - they know that it is a special group where they are going to get their brains working. I asked wether people had any ideas not whether people agreed!


The thinking skills aren't question and answer, for example they share a picture and talk about what they think is happening, where it is.. these are not direct questions they are conversational. The children do have plenty of time to play with what interests them and we do enhance those areas. These groups are also fantastic for the 'shy' ones as it is small groups of 4/5 children and it is less daunting than speaking in front of the whole class - they do not have to provide an answer either, they can choose!


Thank you Pamgreen I will have a look for those books. Sorry to have a rant but when I was asking for people to share ideas not tell me what I am doing is wrong when I know that it works - why bother posting it!!

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Do you have cameras the children can use? or even a child's video camera? Might they be able to take the camera around the setting and photograph activities they like doing, or people they like etc. and then at your group time you could review the footage they have taken with them, if you have a printer and maybe print off a few of the photos for discussion.

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Things that I have tried....

Listening to different types of music and discussing what animal/colour if makes them think of.

Posing Q linked to themes in stories, for instance, when doing 'Whatever Next' I asked the children what make a colander different to a sieve? Would a colander make a good space helmet?

Drawing a picture to music and them telling the rest what it is.

Hiding an object under a sheet, children have to feel it and describe it.

Playing short animated films/adverts as a provocation.


Hope this helps.

Edited by Rufus
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