Cognitive development

Foster cognitive development in early childhood CHCFC505A

This unit is about fostering and enhancing children's cognitive development. This includes reasoning, explaining, understanding and explanations, critical thinking, using mathematical concepts, problem-solving, inventing, discovering and planning.



1. Help children to develop thinking and problem-solving skills

  1. Give varied and appropriately challenging opportunities and resources related to each child's stage of development and interests
  2. Give children opportunities to experience the consequences of their choices, actions and ideas
  3. Encourage children to explore, understand and solve problems in their environment
  4. Use various strategies to maintain children's interest in solving problems
  5. Give challenging and engaging experiences for each child to develop their attention span and give them time to stay with the activity until they are ready to move on
  6. Introduce new ideas/activities that may build on existing knowledge, skills and interests
  7. Use questioning and non-verbal communication to develop children's abilities to observe what is happening around them
  8. Identify and monitor children's cognitive development and thinking skills


2. Promote opportunities for a wide range of developmentally appropriate experiences in science, mathematics, technology and the environment

  1. Present a range of developmentally appropriate experiences in science, maths and technology
  2. Present a range of experiences to stimulate learning about the environment
  3. Recognize children's abilities and respond to their interests and learning potential
  4. Encourage participation in science, maths, technology and environmental learning experiences in a way that is enjoyable
  5. Present experiences that stimulate children's curiosity and learning
  6. Give children opportunities to further explore their concept development


3. Other skills

  1. Encourage children in thinking and problem solving experiences with consideration for each child's culture, stage of development and interests
  2. Plan open ended experiences to promote children's enquiry and mathematical thinking
  3. Facilitate children's problem solving
  4. Use open ended questions to encourage children to predict, hypothesize, explain, reason and express their ideas and opinions
  5. Creatively use inexpensive resources to stimulate children's interest and curiosity
  6. Be an example, suggesting next steps and highlighting aspects the children may have overlooked
  7. Support and encourage children's unconventional and innovative use of materials
  8. Use the environment to stimulate children's curiosity
  9. Arrange experiences that stimulate children to explore and discuss diverse objects, people and places
  10. Treat all parents and children equitably, including Indigenous people
  11. Work with cultural diversity.
  12. Apply the following skills identified as underpinning national child health and well being core competencies, where they are applicable to the work role:
    • implement effective evidence-based service delivery
    • coordinate service delivery to families with an interdisciplinary teamwork approach and where possible collaborative interagency practice
    • support infants and toddlers to master key developmental tasks
    • early identification of emerging trends in child needs and how to address them
    • manage children's health needs, eating behaviours and physical activity
    • provide environments and relationships that are safe for young people
    • engage and work with parents/carers and families


Cognitive development will vary according to the child's age/abilities and must include babies, toddlers, and 3 to 5 year olds (see chart).

Opportunities to explore their local environment directly will differ according to factors such as distance, proximity of new experience, risks and hazards, and time available.