Classifying and sorting involves identifying objects that are the same, or similar, and grouping them together. For example, different foods can be grouped based on their type, colours, taste and textures. It is an important life skill for small children as well as being helpful for developing fine motor development and hand/eye coordination. It helps develop language skills when they name and label as well as pronunciation. Once children can compare items this is a precursor to higher levels of thinking including the identification of more specific similarities or differences. By understanding some simple principles we can help children with classification.

Here are 8 ways to help children with classification:

  1. Provide very concrete examples that help the child to understand how all things can be classified based on their similarities.
  2. Create activities that require the child to identify how small numbers of objects are similar or different. Use concrete examples then progress to more abstract concepts.
  3. Require the child to identify the best classification name for a given series of concrete objects.
  4. Require the child to identify the categories that groups words or pictures best fit. Consider more abstract categories such as feelings and emotions, love, hate, happiness or unhappiness.
  5. Help the child identify the many varied categories that can be used to classify objects according to their different attributes. The categories can begin with such things as size, texture and colour then move on to more abstract categories such as function, relationships and purpose.
  6. Help the child identify not only broad categories but also sub-categories that fit within them. For example, animals then types of animals such as mammals.
  7. Create opportunities for the child to make lists, formatted into categories such as shopping lists. Where possible make them relevant and test them in real situations such as grocery shopping.
  8. Have the child create a scrapbook including pictures of their favourite things, life events and people. The pictures will need to be categorised in order to group pictures and make the scrapbook functional and interesting to the reader.
Helping children with classification
Helping Children with Classification

Senior Managing Partner and Education Expert Shanna Parry

Shanna Parry
Shanna Parry – Senior Managing Partner

Combining her passions for teaching, training and travel, Shanna Parry has since worked throughout the USA, Middle East, India and China serving as a director (Higher Education), headmaster (Secondary School) and consultant (K-12). Shanna brings a wealth of experience in a variety of critical areas.

In 2018 and 2019 Shanna was identified as top 30 in the Education category for Global Gurus among some of the worlds leading Education experts. Shanna continues to travel extensively to meet the demands for her consulting expertise in administrative and teacher development.

In her role as Senior Managing Partner of GSE she plays a key role in the day-to-day operations as well as pioneering creative models for international schools and providing groundbreaking training methods for directors, administrators, teachers, and students.

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Global Services in Education set up and operate schools in all parts of the world. Governed by a philosophy of global citizenship, every member of the GSE team shares a passion to help shape international education and student achievement through inspiration and collaboration.
Our goal is to meet the highest objectives of every school, teacher, student and parent, with an unwavering dedication to quality education, shared ideals and intercultural perspectives.

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Ways to help children with classification