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Encouraging Curiosity for Better Learning

By Too Small to Fail

Encouraging Curiosity for Better Learning

When children exhibit curiosity, they are actually exhibiting an interest in learning. This innate interest in learning and exploring their world helps children retain information, and is an asset to their later development and success in school. The more curious children are about the things they see, hear and think—and the more questions they ask!—the better off they are in later learning.

From the moment a baby fixes her gaze on a new object, she is exercising her curiosity to help her learn. Even if a child is too young to use words, her brain is actively working to understand what she is experiencing and to help her make sense of it. According to brain research, the brain’s chemistry actually changes when curiosity is piqued, and helps a person remember not just what they’re curious about, but any other information they come across during that highly charged learning time.

Curiosity is not unique to human beings, but it is one of our strongest innate abilities, and guides and motivates us to acquire new information.

Parents can encourage their children’s natural curiosity in several ways. For example, parents of young babies can encourage their children’s interest in a particular object or sounding by showing interest in what their babies notice, and talking to them about what they see or hear, even if the child cannot yet talk back. Parents and caregivers can also provide their babies with safe, new objects that can be explored with hands, mouths, eyes or ears. For older toddlers who may ask a lot of questions, parents can encourage their children by answering as many questions as they can, or looking for answers together in a book.

Resources for Sharing:

VIDEO: An animated video from Great Schools about nurturing curiosity—and learning—in young children. >>

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