- Skills Spotlight
Why is Problem Solving Important in Child Development?
All students can learn how to become adept problem solvers! Discover why problem solving is so important in child development.
Children develop problem-solving skills at different rates; nevertheless, it is imperative that children learn to tackle problems with grit and creativity, especially as they learn to cope with setbacks or resolve conflict. Moreover, problem solving is one of the most important skills children can develop, because it prepares them to face increasingly complex academic and interpersonal issues as they mature.
Experts agree that the ability to meet challenges confidently is “a critical skill for school readiness.” In many cases, children learn by watching parents or caregivers solve problems.
This article will explore three benefits of learning problem-solving skills at school:
Improved Academic Performance
Why is Problem Solving Important in Child Development?
The earlier children begin solving problems, the more ready they are to deal with bigger challenges as they mature.
By introducing problem solving skills in the classroom, children learn to think in terms of manageable steps as they:
1. Identify Problems
2. Brainstorm Possible Solutions
3. Test Appropriate Solutions
4. Analyze Results
By viewing problems as opportunities to grow, children broaden their understanding while building confidence.
The classroom is a safe, controlled environment, with experienced teachers who direct students as they hone problem-solving skills.
Good schools know that problem solving is important in child development. Therefore, we incorporate problem-solving exercises into a wide range of classes. Marlborough’s goal is to ignite intellectual inquiry by combining problem solving with creativity, collaboration, and communication, thereby empowering our students to become actively engaged global citizens.
We ask our middle school girls to solve various types of problems; thus, they develop flexibility. Since our students regularly practice problem solving, they dramatically improve their academic performance.
Problem-Solving Skills Improve Academic Performance
One reason that problem solving is important in child development is that it teaches discernment, helping young people distinguish what is a solvable problem.
Problem solving also develops grit, a trait that successful students routinely display.
Often, it takes an entire team to solve a problem. Since it can feel intimidating to collaborate or ask for help, the classroom is a perfect space to take risks. Together, students learn how to ask determining questions, such as:
Why is this situation so challenging?
Do I know how to address the problem?
Who can help me find a workable solution?
Students who learn how to solve problems have a deeper understanding of cause and effect. Teachers often urge students to look for patterns or make predictions. Problem-solving skills, then, boost reflective, critical thinking.
At Marlborough, we foster practical, analytical thinking through individual and collaborative school projects. Here are two middle school elective courses that show how problem-solving skills lead to academic success:
Middle School Debate teaches the art of research, deliberation, and argument. Students consider both sides of a question, discussing realistic solutions, and presenting their findings with clarity and eloquence.
Crime Scene Investigation: CSI Marlborough synthesizes biology and chemistry as students learn about forensic science. Students systematically solve problems by investigating a fictional crime, securing the crime scene, gathering detailed evidence, testing hypotheses, identifying potential suspects, then solving the case.
Problem-Solving Skills Build Confidence
Solving problems means making choices. Typically, effective problem-solving skills result in “happier, more confident, and more independent” individuals.
When children tackle problems on their own, or in a group, they become resilient. They learn to look at challenges from a fresh perspective. Therefore, they take more calculated risks.
Problem solving is important in child development because confident, capable children usually grow into confident, capable adults. <
If students practice problem solving consistently, they can develop greater situational and social awareness. Additionally, they learn to manage time and develop patience.
As students mature, problems they face become more complex:
How do I make lasting friendships?
How can I bring justice to my community?
Which career suits my abilities and interests best?
Marlborough recognizes the need for practice; no one masters problem solving overnight. Consequently, we offer a wide range of courses that teach middle school girls how to solve problems in the real world.
Here are a few middle school electives that focus on critical thinking, thus enhancing students’ confidence:
Makers’ Space 1.0 introduces middle school girls to original, school projects that they design, then create with hand and power tools.
Tinkering and Making with Technology invites girls to play with electronics + code. They learn the basics of electronics, ultimately completing an interactive and/or wearable technology project.
Drawing and Animating with Code uses text-based computer programming to teach girls to write code and create computer graphics drawings or animations.
As students develop their problem-solving skills, they learn to rely on independent, creative thinking, which enhances their sense of independence; these skills, then, prepare students for life and future careers.
Problem-Solving Skills Prepare Students for Future Careers
Children who learn how to solve problems when they are young tend to appreciate lifelong learning. They are curious, motivated, and innovative.
Employers want new hires to think imaginatively, especially since many problems that society faces today are new.
The push for school STEM programs in schools reflects this trend. For instance, coding requires students to envision a goal, then identify logical steps, and plan ahead. Coding also requires persistence, which means that students must be able to power through failure.
Notwithstanding the need for personal excellence, employers also really want team members. Taking classes that encourage group problem solving can be invaluable as students look ahead to college and careers.
As a result, our students participate in academic teams that build leadership through problem-solving activities, including these middle school elective courses:
VR and Animation is a project-based class that invites middle school girls to create a virtual reality (VR) theme park attraction with interactive artwork and digital designs.
Robotics classes allow middle school girls to design, build, program, and operate a robot. Our students also participate in the national FIRST Tech Challenge.
Marlborough is preparing girls to enter the workforce. Problem solving is important in child development because it trains young people to think independently and to collaborate. Marlborough’s graduates are ready to enter adulthood because they know how to solve problems.
Why Choose Marlborough?
Marlborough serves girls in grades 7 through 12. We are a private, college-preparatory secondary school, conveniently located in the heart of Los Angeles, California.
Our goal is to ignite intellectual inquiry and to build the problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills that our students will need to innovate, invent, and lead in college and beyond.
If you want your daughter to become a curious, agile thinker, consider Marlborough. We will enhance your daughter’s problem-solving skills, helping her gain an academic edge as she builds confidence and prepares for the future.
Want to know more about the Marlborough experience?