• Cedar Hill Prep School

Leveraging Cognitive Skills — A Unique Approach To Boost Our Students’ Cognitive Abilities

As you might know, I held the first parents’ education session “Leveraging Cognitive Skills” last week, and I wanted to share the slides and some key elements with you:

Cognition is the “mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” Cognitive skills are visual motor speed, processing speed, working memory, verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning, language skills, attention, flexible thinking, spatial perception, and motor skills. Different cognitive skills develop over time. For example, the cognitive processing speed peaks in the late teens while the ability to recognize faces is at its peak when a person is in their early 30’s.

Leveraging Cognitive Skills | Creating The Right Environment

To help our children, we need to create an environment that enables them to develop their cognitive skills. For this every student needs:
  • Self-knowledge. Who am I? What are my expectations? What are my goals?
  • Inspiring role models—peers and adults—to model their actions
  • An audience
  • Creative spaces and tools
  • Learning strategies
  • Ideas
  • Feedback, not judgment
  • A champion
  • A chance to practice
  • As many chances as it takes (in terms of life skills)
  • To be able to read and write
  • Self-efficacy or belief in themselves
  • To play

Leveraging Cognitive Skills | Crippling Parenting Behaviors

However, sometimes we as parents helicopter over our children, trying to protect them, make them happy and do what’s best for them without realizing that our behavior actually hinders their development. According to Forbes Magazine, there are seven crippling behaviors that adversely affect mastery of cognitive skills:

  1. We don’t let our children experience risk.
  2. We rescue too quickly.
  3. We rave too easily.
  4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well.
  5. We don’t share our past mistakes.
  6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness, and influence for maturity.
  7. We don’t practice what we preach.

How Cedar Hill Prep Uses Cognitive Ability Testing

A recent string of neuro fitness programs such as Quantified Mind, Lumosity, and Cognifit seeks to measure and improve users’ cognitive abilities.

Cedar Hill Prep School in Somerset, NJ uses a proprietary cognitive abilities test to show students’ Learning Profiles to help set students’ academic goals and provides students with a tool box to improve students’ capabilities (starts at Grade 5).  The data from the CAT helps motivate students and parents to realize that students can achieve more than perhaps their academic records are showing.

Leveraging Cognitive Skills | What You Can Do At Home

There are many ways parents can foster their children’s cognitive abilities. For example:

  • Discovery Channel, Sci-Fi, History.com, PBS, Documentaries
  • Creative Hobbies
  • Storytelling / Personal Stories
  • Sudoku
  • Sports
  • Debate Clubs
  • Cooking
  • Minecraft / SimCity
  • Board Games
  • Museum Visits

We look forward to seeing you at a future session.

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