Topics in Early Childhood Education

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Our cat, Esme, likes to sit by the glass door and watch what is happening outside. I'm sure she is naturally curious because she spends her life indoors. In some ways, watching the outside is like television for the cat. Esme is very curious about everything that happens indoors and outdoors. Young children are very similar. A child's curiosity about the world is natural as he tries to understand and learn about his surroundings. As I have been watching student teaching candidates this semester, I have been observing how some teachers encourage curiosity and interest, but many others do not encourage or even like that basic instinct in children.

As a classroom teacher I always wanted to turn my students on to learning about the world and what they can do with new information. Unfortunately, most public school settings today are so structured around test scores that the child can only sit and wait for the information to be dumped in his head. Dumping knowledge has little possibility of sticking and making a difference in the child's life.

That brings me back to Esme and her interest in the world around her. I leave the wooden door open (even when it's cold) so that she has the opportunity to look at the world through the glass storm door and satisfy that basic curiosity. Watching safely behind the glass will make sure that curiosity will not kill this cat! Allowing children to be curious and ask questions will not kill the desire to learn, but encourage the interest to grow and continue.



At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Kristi M. said...

Can you list 5 to 10 ways I can allow my students to use their curiosity to fuel their learning?

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Lindy Smith said...

Hi Professor Funk,
I think it is sad that schools today focus so much on academic achievement instead of human development and the development of the individual child. I find that even in the Imagine It book we use to teach whole group reading instruction, the questions we are supposed to ask don't encourage creativity but instead point towards one specific answer. It would be great if some type of balance between the two was easier to reach. I enjoyed reading your post!
- Lindy Smith 6310

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying to encourage my students to reactivate their curiosity. I want my students to think and wonder about things. Most of the time in teaching we point our students in the directions we want them to go. Instead we need to embrace our students curiosity and let them go in the way that they are interested in. This will not damage the learning experience of the student. It can take it in a new direction.
Elisa EDU 5310

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Rhondiseo said...

Hi Professor Funk,
I agree with your article,children need to be able to explore and ask question. I was always told (closed mouth don't get fed) if you don't ask you will never know. Children are being taught in a structured way that only allows them to gain certain Knowledge. I want my children to be curious as they learn and not left behind. As stated by the anonymous,it will take them to a new level and direction of better learning.

At 5:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your post. Curiosity is a vital component in any classroom. It's amazing to me to see all of the different questions and wonderings from the students. I try to incorporate their ideas in my lessons. It's fun to see what they come up with and makes me realize that we need to sometimes sit back and give the students more control of their learning.

Kristi Kimble

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Becky said...

I completely agree with your metaphor for curiosity and how it can be step upon for children. I have found to many teachers get stuck in the worksheet concept and it does not allow for any creativity. My preschool class is funded by the my state and we are not allowed to use "ditto's" as we call them or pre planned worksheets. Thank you for the helpful suggestions.

At 1:32 AM, Anonymous Meenakshi said...

Talents are divided in 4 major domains:

Academic or intellectual abilities : Development of language skills such as poetry or writing, mathematical abilities, scientific abilities- space programs, robotics, inventions & projects, forensic Artistic or sciences, scientific skills etc.

Creative abilities : Developing artistic skills like Dance, music- instrumental or vocal (western or Indian), drama, photography, drawing/painting, sculpture, etc.

Physical abilities : Sports such as athletics, field games, judo/karate, skating, etc.

Social Abilities : Focus is on abilities which children use in their daily interactions with classmates, teachers, and Parents, development of other qualities such as leadership , problem solving abilities, interpersonal communication etc.


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