Metacognition: The importance of learning to learn from an early age

Metacognition is our ability to observe, understand, and assess our cognitive process. It means being aware of learning, always reflecting on what, how and why we learn, and using strategies to favor the construction of knowledge. It is a skill that can be developed from early childhood, when children are still in Early Childhood Education.

Perceiving the space of the body during conversation circles, sitting in an organized manner to pay more attention to the guided activities, understanding others when together, knowing why and how to take care of the materials. Behavioral procedures such as these – which are related to the individual and the collective, as well as to the use of spaces and time – are marked, with the teachers’ help, in the little ones’ school routine, favoring the conscious development of a student posture.

“Often, especially in the context of the pandemic – in which we experience the challenge of social isolation –, children come to school to run, play, and expend their energy. In addition to a time for free play, which is very important, the school also has a time for guided activities, exploration and in-depth investigation, in which the children will develop skills such as being able to organize, anticipate events and accomplish what is expected in routine situations,” said Camila Maia, pedagogical coordinator of Early Childhood Education at be.Living.

Camila explains that metacognition is a very important process in Early Childhood Education. “It is an opportunity that teachers provide the children to actively participate in their assessment processes, signaling to them where they were at a certain point in the construction of knowledge and how far they have come, sometimes pointing out challenges and setting new goals.”

She says that this is an ongoing process, built together with the children and the group, so that everyone can perceive their achievements, the challenges they are facing and, together, come up with and outline strategies to make progress in different directions.

“This work is very clear in the group with older children (Blue), who are 5 and 6 years old, where there is a greater systematization of knowledge. But this is also a very real possibility with the little ones. Through images and videos, the teachers share the children’s evolutionary processes with them. For example, a child who had a more demanding adaptation, who cried a lot to enter school, who was always sucking a pacifier, will be able to see themselves in this timeline and realize that, today, after two months in school, they are behaving differently, playing more and getting involved with peers and activities.  This moment of recording and realizing the progress they have made is really important. It is a way for the children to become aware of their potential and to strengthen, in their lives, the positive qualities that are being created and revealed here at school.”


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