Young children’s motivation to learn is inspirational. Their innate curiosity about the world around them, and their determination to make sense of this world, is truly remarkable. They have an endless bank of questions to ask and hypotheses to test in their quest for connections that will help them understand the world. These questions and hypotheses are central to a culture of inquiry and building of a community of learners.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy which is the stimulus for learning planning and pedagogy through the Scotch Oakburn Early Primary program focuses strongly on cultivating curiosity and embracing children’s questions and wonderings as the catalyst for inquiry and investigation. This approach to learning morphs seamlessly into the ongoing inquiry-based learning of the Primary years which is guided by the Australian Curriculum.
Inquiry-based learning has its genesis in the motivation, interests and questions of the learners, using this (often through explicit direct instruction) to build core literacy and numeracy skills, reinforce curriculum content and importantly mentor the development of thinking skills and deeper understanding of core concepts. The benefits for lifelong learning are very significant.
‘Inquiry teachers provoke, model and value curiosity – and they do this in a myriad of ways. Curiosity is nurtured through the way the learning space is curated, the kinds of questions asked, the extent to which the learners’ questions are valued and through the deliberate, infectious modelling of curiosity by the teacher themselves’. This is one of ten key elements of inquiry-based learning highlighted by Australian Education Researcher and Consultant Kath Murdoch in a recent blog.
While her direct audience is Early Childhood and Primary teachers, parents could readily adapt these elements to complement everyday experiences and interactions for children beyond the school setting. The full blog can be accessed here.
Head of Junior School