“Be Curious”, said the master.
Why to “Be Curious”? How to “Be Curious”?
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
As I remember this famous quote by Stephen Hawking’s, I realize how relevant and powerful this stands until today! The immortal master who changed the way we looked at the universe still manages to inspire us in many ways.
Why is it crucial for your child to be curious? How can you inspire the urge to be curious in them?
Here goes my analysis-
Every child is a born explorer. We all have seen how during early childhood days, toddlers put anything in their mouths as soon as they see it, even if it’s dangerous. They want to feel, touch and taste all the objects they can hold, and enjoy sensorial experiences a lot.
We live in a world that is an endless source of wonder- the rotation of the earth on its axis, the sun and the moon, seasonal changes and so on! Researchers believe that some children possess a keener desire than others to explore their immediate surroundings.
Curiosity is a boon to a child and it undeniably ignites their creative spark. One thing inevitable to progress (be it for a child or an adult) is constant innovation and no innovation is possible without arousing curiosity at first.
But unfortunately, this natural urge to explore the surroundings dies with time. Formal schooling methods, the rat-race to be the topper, finishing the syllabus in time, fear of disapproval from parents and peers and unsafe environments gradually kill the importance of curiosity which once came naturally to children.
Children speak their curiosity if given a chance to. For instance, you visit any historical monument. After telling them about the beautiful architecture built thousands of years ago, you can ask your child – ‘There was no electricity or sophisticated engineering tools when these grand structures were carved. How did the craftsmen transport these stones and take measurements to build them?
This way, both your child and you can embark on a journey of learning together. It is natural that when you both imagine together, your child will truly enjoy learning. However, you need to keep in mind their age and not overload them with information.
I have a few points an educator can incorporate into their daily routines with children that’ll help them grab hold of their curiosity!
DON’T GET TIRED OF THEIR QUESTIONS. YOUR EXPRESSIONS WILL MATTER THE MOST
I understand a parent or a teacher goes through a roller coaster of emotions each day. Too many questions sometimes irritate you. However, try to calm yourselves and answer your child’s questions thoughtfully. If you don’t have an answer, take efforts to learn together from books, experts or the internet. This will bring a sense of comfort and openness.
ACCEPT THE WAY YOUR CHILD WANTS TO LEARN
Sometimes, we set unrealistic expectations for our children. We must encourage self-directed learning for them. What if your child spills the colors out of a circle while experimenting with crayons? We need not bind them into dimensions and let them explore the world their own way!
YOUR CHILD HAS AN INTEREST? FUEL IT.
If your child shows interest in a particular activity/object, leave no stone unturned to expose them to the same at higher levels too. Do not disapprove or discourage their ideas- this will instill a feeling of rejection in their psyche.
MAKE THEIR SURROUNDINGS SAFE
Here, I not only intend to focus on removing sharp objects, chemicals, dangerous objects etc. from their vicinity, but also we must try to make their surroundings safe by helping them stay amongst people who support self-directed learning (choosing pre-schools thoughtfully). You must also ensure that they do not experience abuse, ignorance or any form of violence.
NATURAL SURROUNDINGS WILL HELP THEM THE MOST
Television and mobile phones might have the ability to entertain your child, but the materials cannot be manipulated or questioned. Exposing your child to natural surroundings where they can collect sea-shells, play with pebbles, or do some sand art will help them learn the fun way.
House of Learning pays gratitude to Mr. Stephen Hawking for igniting the fire of curiosity in all of us!