Albert Einstein famously said: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” This resonates with our approach at Edenhurst. Any parent will know about that phase that their children go through, usually at age 2 or 3, when they ask “Why?” at least 100 times per day. Sadly, they outgrow this. Or do they? Could it be that we teach our children to stop questioning?
In the past, education was very much centered around the curriculum and memorising content. This left very little room for questioning and curiosity. In my first year as a teacher in South Africa, I remember teaching a Science lesson to a year 8 class of 42 students. I was frustrated at how quiet and compliant they were, so I dropped in the statement that the sky was pink and asked them to write that down. Diligently, they did as I asked. A little later I asked them what colour the sky was. Hands shot up across the room. I chose a boy at the back. “Pink, sir”, was his response. When I asked him why, he said: “Because you said so, sir.”
My heart sank. That moment defined the way I taught and how I think about education. Quiet classrooms are not necessarily ones in which the greatest amount of learning takes place. Quite the opposite actually. Usually quiet classrooms mean stifled learners. I am heartened when I drop into lessons at Edenhurst that there is a lovely buzz of conversation and lots of open-ended questions being asked. Children’s voices are always heard and quiet classrooms are rare.
Curiosity leads to creativity. This is something we have worked very hard to build into our curriculum. Our ‘Why?’ as described by Simon Sinek, defines our decision making as a school staff and has cascaded down to our children. If we don’t know why we are doing it, we don’t do it! We expect and encourage the same in our classrooms.
In our Nursery we use the Curiosity Approach amongst other strategies which involve providing a wide range of experiences for our youngest children encouraging them to do things a little differently. We extend this into the school, finding opportunities for our children to investigate topics that they are studying but more importantly, giving them time and tools to research the things that they are passionate about. Curiosity is encouraged at Edenhurst and will definitely not kill Whiskers the Cat!
Categories: School Blogs