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Supporting Inferential Thinking in Preschoolers Essay

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Updated: Jun 22nd, 2021

An effective form of thinking plays a significant role for children of preschool age. However, essential changes occur in the thinking process. The circle of cognitive tasks expands fast, and the child acquires new skills constantly, reasoning at a new level. Appropriate cognitive techniques may be observed as a mechanism of the formation of higher-order thinking, and the characteristics inherent in preschool children are an interesting object for study. Also, the use of symbols as one of the methods of mental formation can be considered. Higher-order thinking, along with the technique of symbols, is a unique process involving new intellective processes and allowing the child to develop mentally.

Development of Higher-Order Thinking and Symbol Usage in Preschoolers

In order to assess the degree of influence of higher-order thinking on preschoolers, a specific list of characteristics that are typical for this process can be compiled. The corresponding features that accompany the evolution of cognitive functions distinguish the child’s standard consciousness from the more developed one. As one of the concomitant mechanisms, the use of symbols can be involved to improve the associative nature of thinking. This checklist may include the following characteristics:

  • Teachers’ and educators’ supportive behavior makes it possible to “encourage children’s organized, higher-order thinking” (Moreno, Shwayder, & Friedman, 2017, p. 143).
  • The introduction of the technique of improved thinking depends not only on children but also on parents who should encourage the stimulation of the child’s cognitive functions (Nachiappan et al., 2018).
  • According to Collins (2016), there are “significant relationships between preschoolers’ spontaneously generated inferences and story comprehension,” which indicates a rapid process of the comprehension of the information received by them (p. 934).
  • As Solovieva, Moreno, and Rojas (2016) note, the use of graphic symbols as the means of memorizing certain data contributes to forming higher-order thinking in preschool children.
  • The use of numerical symbols in the teaching of preschoolers makes it possible to train both behavioral and cognitive skills, stimulating higher-order thinking (Merkley & Ansari, 2016).

All these observations allow making competent conclusions regarding the formation of higher-order thinking in preschool children and the characteristics that accompany this process. As Nachiappan et al. (2018) argue, the development of cognitive skills largely depends on the participation of adults, and special methods of attracting visual symbols help the child to absorb and remember information better. The consequences of implementing this checklist in the real learning process can also be considered.

Implications of Implementing the Observational Checklist

The introduction of this list in the classroom can be the factor that stimulates young students to learn. Moreover, such innovation will certainly affect not only children but also teachers who will have to adapt to the working conditions and build the learning process differently. At the same time, the benefits of implementing the aforementioned characteristics in the classroom are numerous because, as Moreno et al. (2017) remark, the educational environment where the child constantly improves his or her skills is more effective than the one where the average level of mental development is encouraged.


Higher-order thinking in preschool children is formed through the direct participation of adults and the use of appropriate techniques, for instance, symbols for the comprehensive development of cognitive functions. The introduction of the observational checklist in the classroom is an incentive for both children and teachers. The development of higher-order thinking is natural in the educational environment of preschoolers where great attention is paid to encouraging the child’s progress.


Collins, M. F. (2016). Supporting inferential thinking in preschoolers: Effects of discussion on children’s story comprehension. Early Education and Development, 27(7), 932-956. Web.

Merkley, R., & Ansari, D. (2016). Why numerical symbols count in the development of mathematical skills: Evidence from brain and behavior. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 10, 14-20. Web.

Moreno, A. J., Shwayder, I., & Friedman, I. D. (2017). The function of executive function: Everyday manifestations of regulated thinking in preschool settings. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(2), 143-153. Web.

Nachiappan, S., Osman, R., Masnan, A. H., Mustafa, M. C., Hussein, H., Suffian, S.,… Kumar, A. (2018). Teacher’s view on the role-play of the authorities in the implementation of higher order thinking skills (HOTs) in preschool. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 8(4), 194-201. Web.

Solovieva, Y., Moreno, C. X. G., & Rojas, L. Q. (2016). Developmental analysis of symbolic perceptual actions in preschools. British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science, 15(3), 1-13. Web.

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