An important skill to inculcate in early childhood
Teaching children how to be keen observers is an important skill that they will use for a lifetime.
What are observation skills?
Observation skills go beyond just looking at or seeing things. The ability to use all five senses to recognize, analyse and recall is the basis of observation.
Children with good observation skills absorb information and form questions which becomes the basis of inquiry which in turn leads to discovery and learning.
Children in the age group of around 5 years generally have very strong observation and retaining skills. It has been seen that children of this age group observe and remember things well and then use those observations in their future actions.
But one needs to keep certain things in mind when it comes to the conscious development of observation skills, including the fact that all children are different and there is no one-size-fits-all model for improving them. A child should be taught to observe situations, people, and things as it helps in the overall development of a child including cognitive, psychological, and socio-economical skills.
Teachers in school and parents at home should engage children in activities that can sharpen their competence in observation. Some of the things that can be done to improve observation skills are:
Engaging with children by talking and discussing
Children pay attention to detail, so when we communicate with them using words for all activities like reading, sitting, standing, etc. they understand and remember by observing these actions.
Telling stories and reciting rhymes with actions
Telling stories and enacting rhymes with action will catch the attention of the children. The actions and intonations used will help in improving their skills to observe how these gestures are used.
Engage in games that require observation and concentration
Engage children in games that involve observing and remembering like matching games. Games can be fun and engaging for children, but adding the element of observation can also improve their abilities. Children can play games like recognizing things in the room, identifying colours outdoors, building blocks of specific shapes and colours, etc.
Ask questions based on things observed
During casual conversations include questions like that of colour, shape, or sound that would require them to observe things more closely and retain them.
Nature is a great place for children to develop their observation skills. Walking in nature and asking them questions about what they observe is a great way to make them observe more consciously. Observing bugs, insects, birds, and animals can be a good activity to hone their observation skills and also give them insights into the world around them.
Enhancing their observation skills promotes their natural curiosity to explore, learn and makes them more focused. When children learn to observe well, they will be able to listen more than just with their ears and make better decisions as a result. They will be able to interact with others more effectively and respond appropriately. Both are essential for success at work and at home as they grow.