Kindergarten Problem Solvers
Problem solving isn’t a skill that comes naturally to all; it takes practice and interest in overcoming challenges. We can start practicing this skill as early as Kindergarten. Students at this age love being creative, working with others, and inventing out of this world ideas. Aspen Academy’s social studies curriculum focuses on, in a very simple way, leaders who solve problems (e.g. Cesar Chavez, Malala, Martin Luther King, Jr.) and how the kindergarteners can also become outstanding problem solvers too. One of our Kindergarten Teachers, Mrs. Dawson takes the students through the following process after discussing the leaders and introducing the concept:
The class discusses actual problems that the class is facing at that moment in the classroom, playground, lunchroom, etc.
Once they name the problem they must describe the problem in detail.
The students then brainstorm and focus on how they can problem-solve and create a solution together.
Testing their ideas comes next to see what might work best.
Finally, the students will come together and decide on the final solution and how they will communicate it with the class and greater community.
Below are some real life problems that our kinders discussed and what they came up with for their collective solution.
Problem 1: Running into each other on the playground
Solution 1: Kinders want to set up signs and one-way lanes to avoid collisions. The students drew lines and arrows on a flipchart to describe their ideas. In addition, they created signs that said “slow down” and “STOP” and took turns holding the sign so their classmates could play safely.
Problem 2: Cleaning up in the cafeteria - Students are not cleaning up in the cafeteria before lining up. (They want to be first in line to get turns with swings, balls, or just get to recess quickly.)
Solution 2: put up signs to clean up; sit at table until it is all cleaned up and wait to be dismissed to line up. (These are not working because some take a long time to eat and they leave a mess right at the end. We need to keep brainstorming.)
Problem 3: Taking fair turns on the swings; students take long turns and refuse to share.
Solution 3: 5 minute timer (too long) and next week we'll test drive the 2 minute timer.
Stay tuned to learn more about how our kindergarteners end up communicating their solutions with the school admin team.
For more on Kindergarten at Aspen Academy, click here.