Fundamental Skills 1

    Cognitive analysis for 4 and 5 year-old students

    Author: Isauro Blanco - Habilmind Team

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    What is this test for?

    It is a cognitive analysis of the fundamental skills that influence student learning.

    Aimed to students from 4 to 5 years of age.

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    HF1 selects the most important intellectual skills in students of these ages

    We expose the most important skills for this age, explaining the implications of a low level in each of them.

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    Important: this test is applied to each student individually

    You must consider the time needed for implementation.

  • Analyzed indicators

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    Visual integration

    Abstract: Visual integration is an intellectual skill that conditions the learning of reading, writing and the capture of 80% of the information processed by the brain. All knowledge begins with the senses. In the stage of concrete thought (before the age of 7) we must verify if this capture is complete, precise and effortless.


    Implications of poor visual integration:

    This profile causes information captured by the visual sense not to reach the brain completely or to be slow and difficult to process. At this age children need to stimulate this skill that will be key in later learning.

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    Spatial relations

    Spatial orientation is an indispensable skill for mathematics, writing and reading: it influences location on paper, directionality and spatial calculation.


    The product of the relationships emphasized in this skill is a great challenge for children's intelligence because it has to find the "invisible thread" that exists between a certain position and variable spatial references. The capture of spatial relationships increases the basis for the transition between concrete and abstract thinking.


    Implications of poor spatial relations:

    Trouble in: reading, writing and mathematics.

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    Visual memory

    Visual memory is a skill that conditions the learning of reading and writing. In the first phase, the mind captures letters as a figure or image (CUF), then memorizes it (MUF) in the Visual Letter Representation Area (VWFA). The activation of this neurological zone is the main factor that most accurately predicts reading success.


    This skill also includes the visual attention that is essential for detail memory to work.


    Implications of poor visual memory:

    It crucially conditions the learning of reading and writing. Fortunately, it is a skill that depends more on systematization than on the intensity of stimulation.

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    Numerical concepts

    This is a skill that conditions the learning of arithmetic in a first level: the sense of the number.


    With manipulative material the test checks the child's understanding of numbers up to this point. Since arithmetic is the cornerstone of mathematics, it is necessary to verify the initial understanding from an early age.


    Implications of a poor level of numerical concepts:

    Although this ability is not a priority at this stage, it is convenient to attend to it since logical mathematical reasoning will be fundamental in the next academic life. It is important to consider this result as a preventive element. The development of this skill also helps to strengthen logic, the handling of implications and the transition to abstract thinking.

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    The diagnosed skill is the mental dictionary that the person possesses up to this point. Vocabulary refers to the semantic units that form the raw material of language, both oral and written.


    Since all learning is transmitted with a language, an enriched vocabulary is a necessary condition to achieve a proper understanding of all subjects and communication in general.


    Implications of poor vocabulary:

    Since the mental dictionary is fundamental for learning in all its facets, it is indispensable to work more systematically on this skill.

    It is not possible to improve the vocabulary in an intensive way, but through a continuous use of new words.

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    The ability to classify the information captured by the mind is crucial to learning, as students need to learn how to organize the data they receive so that it can be effectively evoked later.


    Preschool children face concrete, particular and specific challenges; they gradually capture the essence of different objects that share a characteristic. It is the first degree of abstraction for the "mind's eye" to detect a common element that allows different units to be placed in the same category.

    Implications of poor classification:

    All skills are developed by the stimulation we provide to children and, from preschool onwards, this transition from concrete to abstract thinking has to be worked on continuously both at school and at home.

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    Follow-up of instructions

    This subtest measures the ability to follow directions and to understand extensive information, as expected for the preschool stage. After vocabulary, this intellectual resource is the most decisive in learning from primary school onwards, since all didactic processes and the understanding of content depend on structured language. All skills depend on methodical exercise, but especially this must be worked on every day so that the mind processes more complex information content accurately and gradually.


    Implications of Poor Instruction Follow-Up:

    Attention to this skill is preventative in preschool, but if it does not develop it will cause learning problems from primary school onward or require much effort and/or time to meet later challenges.

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    Gross motor coordination

    Gross motor coordination refers to the automatic control over long muscles to perform harmonious movements. Before age 7, the infant brain needs to coordinate these muscles and then do so on ideas or emotions.


    Implications of poor gross motor coordination:

    Gross coordination refers to neurological control over the large muscles as a prerequisite for fine control and finally coordination of thoughts and emotions. It is essential that children achieve adequate control of their body through defined and coordinated movements before the age of seven. Since this skill is the foundation of other higher intellectual resources, it is indispensable to work continuously and systematically in this area.

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    Copying and writing depend on this intellectual skill and refer to the convergent, specific and concrete production coming from a visual capture, memory and discrimination. Similarly, spelling is conditioned by this intellectual resource.


    Its development depends on the formation of a neurological circuit that then, operates automatically to project itself into the way a person writes, draws or turns over information manually.

    Implications of poor writing:

    It is essential to propose continuous exercises to increase this intellectual tool since fine coordination is necessary for most academic activities; otherwise, you will have to invest time and energy to achieve a minimum efficiency in writing of all kinds.

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    Oral expression

    The test of conditional learning skills in preschool considers some subtests that are not applied in other school levels. Oral expression is a performance test that assesses the ability to interpret figurative information and to communicate adequately in oral form.


    Shyness may affect assessment in this subtest as it inhibits personal expressiveness.

    Implications of poor oral expression:

    It will be indispensable to work on this skill, since verbal expression is the means by which an external preschooler lives his or her inner life: thoughts or feelings.

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    This skill is measured with the same material as Oral Expression. The focus of this subtest is to diagnose the clarity and proper vocalization of speech sounds. In the pre-school stage, the mechanisms of mother tongue pronunciation are still being established and it is necessary to detect its timely development, since communication affects not only academic performance but also the proper social interaction of children.


    The measurement of this skill depends on the performance during application: the evaluator detects the correct pronunciation of the sounds of our language and the spelling or separation of words. Among the most important are: the sound of the r, the compound consonants (br, bl, pr, pl...) the discrimination between similar sounds (p, d, t, m, n...)


    Implications of poor language:

    Since oral expression affects children's primary communication in preschool, in addition to their self-esteem and social skills, an auditory evaluation is essential to rule out problems with information input, as well as greater promotion of expression with children of their age.

  • Interpretation of results

    I've already applied the test. Now it's time to review the results and take action based on them.


    We'll help you with that.

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    Access to group results

    Once you access the platform, click on the test and follow the instructions in the image.

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    Find the group you want to see the result of

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    Analyze the group's results

    Worst Performing Skills: Find the lowest performing skills in your group.
    Top performing skills: Find the most developed skills in your group.

    Find the lowest performing students
    Locate the students with the best results
    Locate students who have not taken the test yet

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    Take a closer look at some students​

    Click on the "view" option to the left of each student's name.

    The report gives you all the information you need. We only suggest that you spend the necessary time reading it.

    You don't have to read them all :-) focus on those that interest you the most or where more intervention is needed.

  • Group intervention through practical recommendations for teachers

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    Go to "Stimulation suggestions"

    You will find that option in the menu on the right.

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    Meet with the teachers

    Suggestions for this step:

    • Meet with the director and explain the results. Discuss the possibility of organizing a meeting with the tutors to share them, to check the needs and to agree on improvement actions. He will say yes :-) Try to get him to attend the meeting with the teachers.
    • Call the meeting with the tutors of a stage (for example elementary).
    • Send the report of his group to each tutor (in the previous point you can see how to download it).
    • Explain the reason for the meeting.

    At the meeting:

    • Share the results: Use a projector and browse the platform, results, reports, etc.
    • Ask the teachers for their students with lower results and also for those who could be of high abilities.
    • Discuss with them the practical recommendations.
    • Consensus is reached on what actions can be carried out to stimulate the whole group of students, giving priority to those that show the greatest need for intervention.
    • Try to arrange a follow-up meeting for a few months.

  • Group intervention through a cognitive stimulation program

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    Research the different programs in your country.

    We propose that you value the possibility of the "Habilmente Program", since it focuses on stimulating the skills that we measure in Habilmind, but do not hesitate to look for other alternatives that will surely be very useful.


    You can also combine cognitive training with the improvement of social-emotional skills. You can find more information about the Achievements program here.

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    Meet with your centre's management team

    Explain to them the results of your research and the suitability of such a program for the students of the center. Don't forget to present the results of the groups of students evaluated.

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    The skill batteries are complemented by the cognitive stimulation program Habilmente

  • Documentation and practical details

    Foundations, manuals and evaluated areas of this test

    • What is the Learning Skills model? see more
    • What are the differences between this test and the intelligence tests? see more
    • Why should we evaluate skills every two years? see more
    • Do students need to know how to answer all the questions correctly? see more

    Specific information about this test

    ⏳ Test duration time:

    45 minutes


    ⚙️ Courses on which I can apply the test:

    2nd and 3rd preeschool

    (4 and 5 years old)


    ♻️ When can I re-evaluate:

    It is recommended to wait at least one year.