Saturday, 31 May 2014
Piece by Piece
Building puzzles require several skills like concentration, fine motor, part-whole relationship and spatial orientation. It is an important skill to master because it has academic implications.
When a child starts building puzzles she not only needs support and encouragement from you but also freedom to try out her own strategies. She herself is not aware of her own capabilities at this point and neither are you!
I have often seen parents and teachers give out strategies to children for building puzzles. For example, ‘you should start with the border first’, ‘this piece wouldn’t fit here, ‘how can it fit here’, ‘how can this part jut out’, ‘start with this piece’ and other comments that leave no room for the child to think and function on her own. It’s also very distressing for the child as she starts feeling less of herself.
I still remember how my daughter Antara had taken to building puzzles. I still remember the look on her face when at 4 years of age she figured out that one chunk of joined puzzle pieces connected to the other chunk that she had built. I cherish the joy of discovery and victory that lit up her face and the boost it gave to her confidence! I celebrated with her and she felt so great about herself. There was no looking back after that… she had started building 80 to 100 piece puzzles at the age of 4years. All I had to do was give her time and room to operate on her own, use her own thinking skills and develop her own strategies.