What do we mean by developing the ability to Make Connections?
By making connections, we mean the ability to take something new and understand how it is similar to, related to, or different from other things. In addition, it is understanding how those relationships change in different situations. This is sophisticated stuff, and young children are not able to make these connections with abstract ideas. However, the more young kids learn to sort, categorize and identify how objects are similar or different, the better they build the foundational skills for making connections down the road.
Why does it matter?
In order to recognize themes when reading, or build a sense of how numbers work, one needs to understand how one thing relates to another and how those relationships can change in different circumstances. Information is not hard to search for these days, but understanding is always hard fought. Kids who can make connections can make real sense of, build on and apply what they are taught in school. It's also the kids (and adults) who can see the unusual connections between things who can think and act creatively. It's not surprising that making connections is one of the seven skills professor, author and child development expert Ellen Galinskyadvocates as essential for today's children in her book, Mind in the Making.