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How We Learn

Curiosity is key to early academic success – new research

New research on curiosity has added another layer of knowledge to our understanding of how qualities such as interest, personal involvement and curiosity drive learning

Curiosity – “the joy of discovery, and the motivation to seek answers to what is unknown” – has been shown by a recent study published in the Paediatric Review as key to children learning and linked to academic success. Furthermore, the research found that curiosity was even more important to academic attainment for poorer children than those from more affluent backgrounds and may help close the attainment gap.

Children from low income families who were characterised as comparatively curious achieved the same in maths and reading assessments as those from wealthier backgrounds.

According to Prachi Shah, who headed up the University of Michigan research, very few interventions are aimed at cultivating curiosity, instead focusing on self discipline, effort and self control. “Promoting curiosity is a foundation for early learning that we should be emphasizing more when we look at academic achievement.”

The research suggested that parents and educators have children “engage in activities that are personally meaningful.”

This is exactly what is done by parents or educators who are free to follow a child’s interests as opposed to a curriculum.

Curiosity is key to early childhood success in math and reading (Science Daily, April 2018)

Early childhood curiosity and kindergarten reading and math academic achievement (Prachi E. Shah, Heidi M Weeks, Blair Richards and Niko Kaciroti)


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