Curiosity: “A child’s desire to explore, discover, question, and wonder” (Dietze, 78).
Curiosity is a key aspect of Reggio Emilia education as activities are planned around children’s natural desires to learn.
Children can express their curiosity in a number of ways:
- Cognitive exploration (with their mind and thoughts)
- Physical exploration
- A combination of the above
An important part of promoting curiosity is developing an environment that supports children’s natural tendency to explore.
Positive reinforcement and encourage of curiosity can help children build self-esteem because it tells them that they are able to learn independently and that their thoughts and questions and wonderings are valuable.
Curiosity is the first essential step in a chain reaction that produces learning opportunities and children’s confidence. Curiosity leads to exploration, which leads to discovery, and pleasure which causes repetition of the task that first elicited their interest. Repetition results in mastery of the task or skill with produces confidence in the child that they have achieved something. This confidence builds their self-esteem (a concept we have talked about in previous posts, scroll down for more info!), which leads to more exploration.
So, the message here is that curiosity is a catalyst in helping children want to learning, enjoy education, and build confidence in their abilities.
Source: Dietze, Beverlie. Foundations of Early Childhood Education: Learning Environments and Childcare in Canada. Pearson Learning Solutions, 2006 VitalBook file.