Curiosity is important. It's the cornerstone of being a lifelong learner, and it can drive success in many different ways. As an educator, you are in a position to encourage and foster curiosity in your students using various strategies. As you take various child care training courses, you will be introduced to a different way to develop the curiosity of the children in your classroom.
Break With Routine
Routine can be essential for children, but flexibility is also important. Consider taking a break from the usual routine once in a while. Try a new snack, lead a different activity, or switch up your teaching format in general. While it isn’t ideal to change things up too often, or to try all of these ideas at once, they can help remind your students that things don't always have to stay the same.
Bake or Make Together
If you have access to a kitchen in your educational facility, bake cookies or other treats with your students. When students see how something is made, that can encourage them to wonder how other things are made. This type of thinking can boost children’s curiosity. In addition to baking together, you can also make things together. To get ideas on how building and creating can help learning, take a child care training course such as “Block Play as a Creative Learning Strategy” from ProSolutions Training.
In the toddler and preschool years, students tend to express their curiosity through questions. Sometimes, children may often ask the same question over and over as a way to gauge the differences in response. While answering similar questions can feel like a lot of work, ignoring children’s questions can send the message that curiosity is a burden or inconvenience. Always do your best to answer as many questions as your students have. If you don’t know the answer it is a great time to start a new learning investigation and teach children how to search for answers right along with their teacher.
If the circumstances don’t allow you to answer the child’s question immediately, rather than ignore them, acknowledge their feelings. You might try saying something like “That is a great question! Let’s see if we can figure out our answer tomorrow during small group.” To learn more about how to effectively communicate with children, take the child care training course “The Art of Communication Part 1: Listening to Children”.
Encourage Safe Exploration
For young children in particular, exploration is how they express curiosity. This exploration can manifest in many different ways, from the infant who wants to touch everything to the toddler who wants to climb all over a jungle gym. To foster this type of curiosity, help children find safe ways to explore. To get started, you might try looking at your classroom’s layout and design, as well as what materials are on hand.
Also consider creating an outdoor space where children can explore their curiosity in a natural setting. You can find tips for creating an outdoor classroom by taking the child care training course “Designing an Outdoor Classroom”. Finally, teachers can also assist children in their explorations by providing a selection of tools and experiences. For example, provide small children with safe, multi-sensory toys to play with, and take older children on field trips to new places.
Ask Open Ended Questions
The questions you ask can also help your students embrace their curiosity. Don't just ask yes-or-no questions, or questions that lead the student exactly where you want them to be. Instead, ask open-ended questions that allow the student to create their own answers.
Curiosity is important, and as an educator, you have the ability to influence the curiosity of the next generation. To get started, sign up for a child care training course at ProSolutions Training. Whether you're working on your CDA or trying to renew it, we can help.