How To: Curiosity Approach at Home
“Children are such curious creatures. They explore, question, and wonder, and by doing so, learn. From the moment of birth, likely even before, humans are drawn to new things. When we are curious about something new, we want to explore it. And while exploring we discover” - Dr Bruce Perry
What is the Curiosity Approach? The Curiosity Approach is a school of thought which has elements of Reggio Emelia, Steiner, Montessori and Te Whariki and has been reworked into an entire concept of it's own. Co-founded by Lyndsey Hellyn and Stephanie Bennett the Curiosity Approach strips back bright colours and cluttered spaces, and promotes neutral colours and natural resources.
What are the benefits of the Curiosity Approach? Children are born curious, by creating an environment that supports their curiosity they will naturally be drawn to it. By indulging their desire to learn, and to find out more, we can nurture their skills and knowledge organically, without any jarring from overstimulating toys, or signage.
How can we create a Curious Home? By embracing neutral tones in our play environment, and where possible using natural resources, or parts that are not traditionally 'for play', we allow children to investigate and explore more deeply. If we only provide toys, the learning is usually directed: press here, pull there, lift this, but open ended resources can be investigated more intensely. Allow children to really look at and handle all the pieces of an old broken clock mechanism, give children the opportunity to experiment with processes rather than focussing on the outcome and bestow responsibility onto them by using a real tea set, not a plastic one. Why? Because they will learn more, they will learn faster and they will learn in greater depth if they are able to be fully involved in the learning process, rather than a passive onlooker.
Bright colours and displays can be overstimulating if they're not used sympathetically, and plastic resources almost all feel the same to the touch. Natural resources such as wood, pinecones, feathers and leaves all feel completely different - they offer a much richer experience, and as they are open ended (that is they don't have a set purpose, as a plaything) they have unlimited potential - they encourage children to use their imaginations, to investigate, they ignite curiosity.
To fully embrace the Curiosity Approach within your own home you will need to get down, literally to your child's level. Sit down on the floor- see what they can see, smell what they can smell and listen to what they can hear. You need to immerse yourself in the child's perspective to be able to unlock the full potential of this approach.
Our home is not, at this stage a fully fledged Curious home but I am making deliberate choices to allow our children to act on their curiosities much more. I am carving space in our day to prioritise this because when our children are allowed to investigate it is truly a privilege to sit back at watch them embark upon this magical journey of discovery. What will your children teach you?