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Preschool Nursery Childcare and The Curiosity Approach

Preschool Nursery Childcare and The Curiosity Approach

15 March 2022

What is the Curiosity Approach?

The World is changing and becoming more technologically advanced with this comes exciting opportunities. But also pressure resulting in less time for pre-school nursery children to be children. To play explore and be free. The Curiosity Approach aims to put the fun back into learning.

Children are forever kept busy attending play dates, clubs, and after school activities. As parents we want them to have access to as many opportunities as possible.

Whilst this intention is good, children need time to learn and discover without hurrying from one place to another. Being overstimulated has a negative effect as children can feel overwhelmed and suffocated. And as a result of this, negative behaviour can become a factor.

Preschool Nursery Children’s young minds are perfectly happy with the simple things in life. It’s time to take a step back and let children be young. Instead of relying on apps or iPads for entertainment, they need to get back outdoors and explore nature.

The curiosity approach is to ignite a child’s natural curiosity to explore the world around them. Instead of directing them and telling them what to do, children make their own choices. Enabling them to figure things out for themselves which lead to enhanced confidence, critical thinking and problem solving.

The approach draws ideas from other philosophies of early education including Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Pikler, and Steiner. It aims to create children who are ‘thinkers and doers’ instead of passive learners who simply follow the direction of an adult.

By creating active learners, pre-school nursery children are more engaged in their environment and have a lot more fun. They are in charge of their own development and choose activities which play to their own interests.

A classroom implementing the curiosity approach will look very different from a traditional setting.

The bright colours and paintings you would usually see at a nursery, are replaced with neutral tones. This creates a peaceful, tranquil environment which does not distract away from a child’s learning but instead places full focus on the various loose items which children can play with.

These comfy spaces allow children to relax and feel comfortable throughout the day. Making the nursery feel like home, creates a safe space which helps with separation anxiety and allows the children to be more relaxed and meet their full potential.

Resources are designed to spark imagination and curiosity. Exploring natural objects gives the child the freedom to develop their own games instead of plastic toys with obvious identities.

They are challenged to use all of their senses to discover how something feels, sounds, and how they can interact with it. Exploring objects and using their imagination without guidance increases their confidence and encourages them to think independently.

Commercial toys are becoming increasingly more intelligent and are doing more thinking than our children. They flash, beep, make noises, and ultimately entertain children instead of educating them. This means our children are becoming passive learners rather than active learners as the thinking is already done for them.

Settings that adopt the curiosity approach allow the child to be in control of play, rather than an object limiting their play.

Reconnecting with the outdoors plays a huge part, linking both indoor and outdoor environments where learning flows seamlessly between them.

Nature is also brought inside, whether this is using natural resources at the playdough or water station, or plants throughout the classroom setting. It’s important for a child’s mental health that they are exposed to natural surroundings.

The Curiosity Approach was founded by Stephanie Barrett and Lyndsey Heller who have 50 years experience in childcare between them.

In an ever changing technological world, they wanted to create a practice that allowed children’s creativity to flow. To embrace a child’s natural awe and wonder and allow their creativity to flow. Changing the focus ensuring the environment suits the child rather than the other way around.

The curiosity approach not only encourages the children to be more free and to have more control over their learning but it also allows the Practitioners to be more present in the moment. To have purposeful interactions as the need for assessment and observation is minimal.

It’s time to take a step back and put pre-school nursery children in the driving seat. This enables them to develop independent thinking, stronger communication skills, and become lifelong learners.