9th July 2019
8 Ways to Support Curious and Creative Children
At Guardian we embrace play-based learning to spark children’s curiosity and build their confidence, empowering them to see the world through a lens of endless possibilities.
We work to develop skills that will help our children thrive in the 21st century, including creativity and innovation and critical thinking and problem solving.
With that in mind, learning doesn’t stop when a child leaves the classroom.
A child’s mind develops faster in the first five years than any other time in their life, so it’s important for us as Educators and parents to consistently provide opportunities for children to explore their curiosity and get creative.
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook
So, how can we, as role models support our children’s creativity and curiosity in the early years?
Read on to discover 8 ways to support curiosity and creative children in our ever-changing world…
Remember that they’re always watching
Children are born curious and spend their every waking moment observing, learning and trying to understand the world around them. This extends to our actions as parents and carers.
In an article written for Very Well Mind, Kendra Cherry, MS, explains, “As kids interact with the world around them, they continually add new knowledge, build upon existing knowledge, and adapt previously held ideas to accommodate new information.”
This means that every time you stop and smell the roses, or dance like no one’s watching – for example, the simple act of doing something curious or creative – your child is learning to act out and explore those emotions.
Prompt curiosity sparking conversations
We’ve all been asked the classic “but why is the sky blue?” at some point or other. It may be tempting to quickly provide a reason and move on, but as children do not learn by simply being told, we need to take a more nonlinear path.
Using questioning language “helps children develop a lifelong passion for learning and empower themselves and their curiosity in self-directed exploration,” according to Dr. KH Kim in an article for The Creativity Post.
Some useful conversation starters include:
- “I wonder what would happen if…”
- “Let’s find out…”
- “Could we do it this way…?”
- “Why do you think…?”
Let your child take the wheel
There’s no denying that structure and routine is incredibly beneficial for growing minds, but there’s also a certain beauty in going with the flow. The simple act of taking an alternative route on your walk home from the park, lingering in a shopping aisle or letting them pick their T-shirt can make all the difference to a child’s world.
Showing children respect and understanding instils a sense of empowerment and self-identity, as they learn that their unique ways of viewing and being in the world will be supported.
Create a curious space
Although children are naturally curious and creative, they also need space and opportunities to flex those specific muscles. All of our childcare centres at Guardian are designed with environments for children to explore and learn based on their individual interests.
This can be easily replicated by presenting children with materials that act as a blank canvas, such as building blocks, art supplies and open-ended resources, and letting them express themselves through these vessels. It will probably get messy, but the conversations and learnings that follow will be invaluable.
Mix it up
Interacting with diverse groups supports children’s curiosity and compassion. According to a resource published by the Queensland Government and the Queensland Studies Authority, in mixed age groups, “The younger children benefit from the positive models of older children, often aspiring to their levels of capability. At the same time, the older children rise to the expectations of the younger children and teacher, being very responsible and having opportunities to lend and use their expertise.”
At Guardian, we celebrate the diverse range of cultural backgrounds amongst our children and Educators. We encourage our Educators and families to share their heritage and traditions with the children. This is done by exploring different cultural holidays, dishes, songs and books.
Multi-age experiences are also an excellent way to nurture children’s curiosity and creativity. Whether they are interacting with older or younger siblings, relatives, friends, or classmates, children become inquisitive when regularly playing with those at different ages to them.
Embrace the world around you
Exploring our local community is a core part of our program at Guardian, as it not only offers an infinite number of learning opportunities, but it sparks a number of conversations and investigations that would otherwise not have happened.
Venturing out into the local area allows children to explore the world around them, form their identities and feel a part of a community – all while propelling their creative and curious tendencies.
Humans are incredibly social creatures – and our need for socialising and participating in activities forms from a young age. As adults, we are often invited to play in children’s imaginative worlds, and it is our duty to embrace said worlds, rather than trying to alter them or question their authenticity.
Whether we’re playing as a matchbox car or purchasing items from a pretend shop, our input and support “can help them [children] learn and grow. You create opportunities to build a supportive and trusting relationship with your child and help build them up in the process,” says Kylie Rymanowicz of Michigan State University.
Practice (and patience) makes perfect
Supporting creativity and curiosity in children doesn’t have to be a complicated activity. Through simple daily activities, both spontaneous and planned, we can support children in their learning and development journeys through early childhood.
Examples include anything from baking together, doing the gardening or collecting the mail – tasks that are often considered as chores for adults, but are seen as exciting and interesting learning experiences for our children.