Defining curiosity can be challenging because its meaning varies among disciplines, early learning centres, and individuals, depending on one’s theoretical framework and perspective of how children learn through play. Think about early learning programs that have a primary focus on cognitive activities, with the majority of the program offered to children indoors. Then, think of the early learning program that embraces outdoor play programming for the majority of the day. How might each program define curiosity?
Then, think about early learning teachers. How might the teacher that embraces outdoor play, loves to “muck about” and discover with children, define curiosity in comparison to the teacher that views outdoor play as a time to use surplus energy? How might their definitions be similar or different? Why is it important to articulate your personal definition of curiosity?
Look at the word curiosity below. What do you think of when you see the word? Click below to see how we define curiosity.
Curiosity can be a powerful motivator of behaviour that stimulates children to explore, wonder and make connections to their outdoor world. Thinking about big ideas that could influence children’s options for and levels of curiosity are core roles of early learning professionals as they influence the places, materials, questions of inquiry and environments created to support children’s play.
Curiosity can be viewed as cognitive curiosity plus physical and social thrill-seeking. Children express differences in their preferences and depth of curiosity and thrill-seeking depending on life experiences (Chak, 2007). Some children may try to satisfy their curiosity by using their minds, while others will wish to explore using a more hands-on approach (Dietze, 2006).