Uncommunicated :: Scientific Thinking in Toddlers

Dear [Preschool Director]:

You didn’t mention this explicitly in the newsletter, but I expect (without having formal experience in child development) that another possible outcome from games like Simon Says is developing the scientific thinking practice of hypothesis-testing. That is, consciously or at least intentionally thinking, “I’ll bet X will happen if I do Y. Let’s see if that’s true.” So many people seem to call infants and toddlers ‘scientists’, thinking they are respecting the children, but I think it is both more respectful and accurate (and indeed respectful in its accuracy) to look on them as explorers. “What happens when I do this?” is a very different mindset from hypothesis-testing. Similarly, being upset when a habitual event happens differently is related to, but not the same thing as, taking in and analyzing difference as the scientific method fosters.