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How to Foster Curiosity in Young Children

Fostering Curiosity in Children exploring puddles

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Curiosity is necessary for real learning. How do we go about fostering curiosity in our children so that they thrive in their learning? Children naturally love exploring and learning. Put children outside playing in a park, a playground or back yard and inevitably they will come across a snail, a ladybird, a worm, a dandelion…anything really. To them everything is new and fascinating. For us, things may have become jaded and old news. However, the moment that child holds out their hand to you with the snail or bug or worm perched perfectly in the centre, their eyes shining with excitement, at that moment, you have an opportunity to foster their curiosity.

You as the educator (when I say educator, I mean the person who at that moment is responsible for the child’s learning) will either open a world of awe and wonder and fascination or you will kill their natural tendency to explore and be fascinated by the world around them. You as the adult have the power to foster or destroy an inquiring mind by your reaction at that very moment when the child holds out their hand to you. Your words, your facial expression and your attitude at that moment are the catalyst for developing a life of curiosity or not.

Your Attitude Influences Curiosity 

So, the first step towards creating an environment rich with curiosity is you and me. The teacher, the adult, the facilitator of learning. Our enthusiasm for learning and exploration is the fuel that lights the fire in children. Our responses and our questions guide children’s curiosity and learning.

Our feelings about spiders, slimy snails, or muddy worms are not important. It’s not about us, or about our feelings, it’s about them. The thing that’s wonderful about inquiry, is that it’s not just the children who learn, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for us to learn. Together with children we can say, “How amazing, how fascinating, let’s find out more!”

Ask Open Ended Questions to Foster Curiosity

So aside from your own attitude and enthusiasm, asking open questions will be the most important skill for developing a child’s innate curiosity. Ask questions and encourage exploration and finding out and whatever you do, don’t be tempted to give them the answers…let them find out for themselves or help them find the answers.

What kinds of questions foster curiosity and learning? Those that your child cannot answer with one word like “Yes” or “No”.

Download Open Ended Questions to Foster Curiosity 

Please download my quick and handy list of open ended questions that you can use as a visible reminder to encourage deeper thinking in your children or students.

Until next time, take care and happy learning.

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