Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning. – William Arthur Ward
The evolving times and the ocean of knowledge and exposure it brings along, pose immense challenges to new parents. With an information excess available to the young child, a great sense of curiosity is triggered. If this curiosity is not encouraged and prodded to flourish, the child will lose his flame and ability to critically think and act.
In earlier times, with joint families being the order of the day, a child had many people of diverse age groups and exposure to answer every one of the questions that kept them awake with curiosity but today the scenario is different. With parents pursuing challenging careers and nuclear families being the norm, the child is left to tussle with his raging queries and unanswered questions.
3 secret tips for parents to keep the fire burning in their child.
1. Read to the child every night before he/she sleeps and even if you are tired, stay engaged to answer the questions that may arise in the child. The greatest asset would be to acknowledge when you do not know an answer, and together with the child, you explore and find the answers. This will not just be a memorable exercise, but one that will stay etched in the memory.
2. Travel can be the best way to kindle curiosity in the child. It need not be high-end locations and fancy stays. A museum, zoo, farm, or just a walk around a new locale is a great place to start. The ethnicity and change will bring up many questions and along with enjoying the trip, the child would have acquired new knowledge.
3. Watching interesting television shows, age-appropriate and interesting can be a fun way of nudging the brain cells to pop up crazy, funny, and many times jaw-dropping smart questions. Again, when in the dark, bring up the team search game of who will find the answer first and be proactive to show you are equally invested in the process. (Recently I have been watching a series on Netflix-This is Us which has the parents, Jack and Rebecca emulate the importance of allowing their three children to pursue their curiosity and find answers)
Considering children begin school pretty early in their growing-up years, the responsibility of carrying the mantle forward rests on teachers to a great extent. At the tender age of two or three, when the child bestrides into the school building, his/her idea of a good and bad space begins there. I know of children, who in a week’s time in pre-nursery, come back to replicate the teacher’s behavior during their playtime. The teacher, for all the right reasons of big numbers, fewer resources, and exhaustion of managing it all, ends up shushing the kids so much that some of them begin to lose the sheen and spark slowly.
3 tips for educators to carry the torch forward in building this curiosity.
- Whatever may be the circumstance, if you have chosen to be there, look at each of your students as cocoons waiting to break free and find their feet. Address them with cheer, stop to respond to their queries, and allow them to feel belonged.
- Take them out into the garden, and let them feel the touch of leaves and butterflies, sand, and water. Let them be nudged to pour out their doubts without being dismissed as silly or trivial.
- Do not threaten them with consequences if they are hyper, or overtly restless and noisy. Sit them down, and talk to them to see what it is that is causing this. It could sometimes be simple questions raging in those little heads about whom Mamma loves more or why is Grandpa not eating well or why is the house help treated differently.
“Continuous learning lies at the heart of thriving,” says the 2017 World Economic Forum report. In this context, it would be interesting to introspect the contributions of the schools in grooming critical thinking and curiosity in young minds. New Horizon Vidya Mandir is one school that diligently works towards this aspect of child development. Right from the class strength, to assigning two teachers in each class to share the work and not get cranky and above all agile, cheerful, empathetic educators who derive joy in giving of their time, patience, and knowledge. It takes more than a mere qualification to become worthy of becoming a good teacher and age too is no barrier to this list. All one needs are a compassionate bearing and a willingness to be humble enough to acknowledge that it may actually help sometimes to learn from the child rather than impart and instruct always. Isn’t that why Wordsworth rightly said, ‘Child is the father of man’?
It is intriguing to observe the progressive and sensitive ways in which the New Horizon schools have been revamping their curricular and co-curricular syllabi. They have planned visits to a few interesting places such as a fire station, post office, temples, and park, to enable the children of Pre-Primary division to gain a hands-on understanding of these places and how it is connected to their lives. Secondary students visit places like the Visvesvaraya Museum, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Metro Station, Parliament Session, and the Geological Survey of India. These frequent field trips broaden the child’s perception of the world.
The infrastructure of the library is not only child friendly but also aims at developing the reading skills among the tiny – tots of the school. Life Skills Lab is another space that almost replicates a miniature home and work setup, with counters, furniture, and all materials and amenities which can be utilized by the children to learn everyday skills. It also boasts of a Music and Dance alley which is a wooden floored and mirror walled room, creating a comfortable noninvasive terrain for them to explore their talents. Dance sessions, speaking buddies, art and craft, storytelling, music, and melody are other noteworthy activities practiced by the school. It would be a good idea for aspiring preschooler parents to have a look at these schools for their wards.