How Long Do Young Children Take to Process Information?
When using open ended questions to young children (Early years/Foundation stage) - how long in general does it take for a child to process that information? Ie. How long a wait do you wait to add more to the question?
Your question is an excellent one and no doubt, one that many teachers and parents ask as they want to ensure children have the best environment to develop cognitive learning skills. However, the answer is not a simple one and varies depending on many factors – as we will soon see.
Understanding the Foundation StageIn the foundation stage, kids will already have emerged from a huge range of diverse backgrounds and learning experiences. The aim in this stage is to enhance and build upon these experiences by giving kids the right learning tools and skills to help them succeed both in school and in life.
Children will learn to separate facts from opinion while also brainstorming and learning how to develop their ideas. They will learn how to think of ways to form solutions to problems, set goals and make predictions.
Processing Information and Answering QuestionsMost experts agree that children need the time and space to think about a question before they can provide an answer. They will need to prioritise and balance out the pro's and con's as well as have the space and time to speak too. They need space to explain problems and ideas along with aspects of the question they may not sufficiently understand.
That all being said, there is no definitive time required that experts agree is a standard for allowing children space to think. While space is recommended, this should be given with respect for various 'cues' that a child shows to demonstrate cognition. What this means is that you will need to regard the question and answering as a mutual process whereby you respond to the signs of cognition – verbal or physical.