Cognitive development involves learning and problem-solving, thinking logically, and symbolically. In our program this development occurs as children play, plan, reason, experiment, practice and explore in a resource-rich environment.
The particular focus of the Early Childhood program builds upon the sense of joy and curiosity that children bring to their first school experience. During the early years, children are natural learners—their curiosity and pleasure in discovery set the scene for exploration of all kinds. Our program provides a supportive environment in which children can ask questions and have the means to look for answers.
Teachers in the Abington Friends Early Childhood program arrange their classroom in ways that encourage children to manipulate, explore, and discover materials while problem-solving. We foster an atmosphere that focuses on process over product, thus allowing children to learn through trial and error. Teachers are not the focus of the classroom but instead they are the facilitators, providing materials and activities that encourage children to experiment and develop problem solving, science and math skills. We help children to build theories and expand on their ideas by providing activities that are developmentally appropriate. Children are encouraged to problem solve independently with a teacher or in a group to find answers to questions such as, “How can I make it move? What will happen if? How can I make it change? Why did it happen? What will happen next?” Children are given opportunities to predict outcomes and test their hypotheses, drawing on the rich resources of the classroom and outdoor learning environments.