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Thinking Skills In Reception


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ok so can anyone help. i am a very stressed Y3 final year student trying to complete my dissertation


i am looking at how brain based learning can be used to support and develop children ability, attitude and acadmeic perfomance in a reception classroom. (Changed behaviours, attitudes to learning)

Well at least i think that is what i am looking at?!

I was wondering, hoping that someone may have used philosophy for children (Robert Fisher) with reception children and would be willing to send me some comments as to its success/ failure in the classroom?

i am also thinking (there's that word again!) about linking it with the QCA speaking and listening documents recently published?

any help... ANY ONE?


i have used Brain Gym, Odd one Out (S Higgins) Philopshy for children




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Hi Lizzie,

Have you seen Nicola Call's book "The Thinking Child"? It would be right up your street! Lots of ideas to use in reception and nursery. She has just brought out "The Thinking Child Resource book" too.........am halfway through reading now!

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oh yes i have both, they have been well thumbed and a constant source for reference. However, unless i have missed it philosophy is not covered...or is it?!

Thank you Nicola, its just what we committed early years practitioners need!


i have read the book from cover to cover, but have started again in case i missed something!


Has anyone seen any reasearch that suggests brain gym doesnot work? i can't find any? or again that brain gym has had a significant impact on the children?


this is turing into a PhD!!!!

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I agree that Nicola's book is excellent but you might also want to look and hawes and shaws book. I think it is called effective learning in the primary classroom. It is not as applicable to the classroom as the thinking child but does have some food for thought. :D

Good luck with it

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remember speaking & listening is already part of "Communication, language & literacy", for Foundation Stage & outlined in the "Curriculum Guidance for the foundation Stage" document, although Goals have other names- Goals for thinking, language for communication.


The recently published material from QCA on Speaking & listening was directed at KS1, I believe.

I certainly haven't had it waved under my nose for reception.


Don't know obviously which age group you are researching, so it could be relevant.


Everyone else, I think Lizzie is particularly interested in the teaching philosophy bit from her question to me in the chatroom last night and I wondered if anyone could help?



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  • 1 month later...

I've just come across this topic , one of my favourites! I have done some philosophy for learning with older children and also written a thinking skills policy and progression grid for our school (Nursery to Y6)linked to thinking skills activities (as well as the ones mentioned) such as sorting and classifying activities (obviously used any way in early years) the focus that makes it thinking skills activity (I think) is the review of how the child/ children selected their criteria and consideration of how they could do it the next time this verbalisation makes the learning explicit ( big thing in this strand of thinking skills) Living graph is also a very powerful visual tool for understanding emotions of characters/incidents ( again I haven't used it in reception but a colleague has when doing the 3 little pigs I think,and was pleased with the children's reactions), reading photographs/ pictures is also a good one for younger children, mysteries is another one. We have found through out the school that the children enjoy activities of this type so they therefore create enthusiasm, many involve very little writing ( a lot of our children particularly like this!) The value of sharing ideas and listening to others links in with QCA S&L we use paired talk, 2-4's, rainbow groups etc within the our thinking skills activities. The main part of this strand of thinking skills is the children talking about how they have learned and what strategies they have used making this explicit so that these skills can be transfered. With a review of this prior to a similar activity (not nec. in same subject) Sorry I've gone on a bit...

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