At our Poppleton Nursery we are part way through our Curiosity Approach Accreditation, as well as also developing the Acomb Nursery to follow this approach. What does it all mean though?
This quote sums it up for me:
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious” Albert Einstein
Children are naturally curious, this is not something which needs to be ‘learnt’. It is however, something which we are passionate about nurturing in the children who attend our settings. At some point in life most of us lose our curiosity and our sense of awe and wonder in the world around us.
The Curiosity Approach is about keeping the flame lit. Children are interested, imaginative and in awe of the world around them. We must not extinguish this in them by providing limiting resources and overly structured activities. We have been developing our environments and enhancing our resources to create areas which are full of intrigue and spark questions and interest. Resources are often open ended so that children can use them how they wish. Our nurseries are also full of real life objects, some which children are familiar with and other which they won’t be. Again, this raises questions, children can explore these resources and will often make up their own uses for them.
Our practitioners are integral to this approach too. Not only do they set up these inviting environments, but they are there to support the curiosity which comes from this. They don’t always answer children’s questions straight away but support the children to find their own answers and come to their own solutions. They also model that love of learning and curiosity and this definitely rubs off on the children.
But what about learning to read, write and count?
We are creating little learners who are enthusiastic about learning, they want to know more and they want to experiment and discover things for themselves. When this is at their core, the rest of the learning will come. They want to know what those squiggles (letters) are on the resources they are using, they want to find out whose car rolled further down the ramp that they worked together to build, they want to know because they are curious and, as practitioners, we help them to find these things out. We show them how to use a tape measure to see whose car rolled the furthest, we support them to start to recognise the numbers on it and work out which number is bigger. We do all this whilst still fostering a love of learning, a sense curiosity and an enormous sense of self-confidence!
Fostering this curiosity doesn’t mean we forget about everything else, it just means that the children learn through experiences that are real and interesting to them and they are learning valuable life skills alongside this as well.
A wise man once said, “Ideas come from curiosity” (Walt Disney). If we stifle this curiosity we are stifling our future artists, musicians, scientists, astronauts, leaders and so many others.
One final quote to end and reflect on:
“I have always had a curious nature; I enjoy learning but dislike being taught” Winston Churchill
Mel Shepherd – Nursery Manager