Why are children in the United States behind their peers in other industrialized nations on measures of school achievement? As teachers, school administrators, and politicians scramble to answer this question and determine how to catch up, parents, and especially parents of our youngest children, are excluded from this conversation. This strikes us as odd. Parents, grandparents and others who take care of young children (ages 3 – 8) may be our most significant assets in channeling their joy of discovery and building foundations for and optimizing learning.

 

Guiding Curiosity is designed to encourage parents and others to appreciate their part, to help them to understand how young children ages 3 to 8 acquire knowledge, and to support them in inspiring their children’s curiosity about the world and beyond. We are frequently reminded that parents are children’s first teachers or best advocates, but what exactly are parents supposed to do to fill these roles? This blog translates current research in developmental science into a useful guide for busy people on how to build learning into daily activities and play. This is not a list of isolated activities, but rather a roadmap for interacting with a child based on best practices in parenting and education.

 

All you need is five minutes to fuel your child’s natural desire to explore and learn. That is all, at least to start. Our suggestions are easy to implement, the recommendations are accessible, straightforward, and meant to maximize fun for the whole family. With a little information and being attuned to your child’s interests and natural inclinations, you can become a more effective collaborator in learning.

 

From the National Association for the Education of Young Children

Make Time for Play

As parents, you are the biggest supporters of your children’s learning. You can make sure they have as much time to play as possible during the day to promote cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development.
Play and learning go hand-in-hand

They are not separate  activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.
– See more here

 

The new developmental research shows that this historical consensus about children was just plain wrong. Children are not blank tablets or unbridled appetites or even intuitive seers. Babies and young children think, observe, and reason. They consider evidence, draw conclusions, do experiments, solve problems, and search for the truth. Of course, they don’t do this in the self-conscious way that scientists do. And the problems they try to solve are everyday problems about what people and objects and words are like, rather than arcane problems about the universe or subatomic particles. But even the youngest babies know a great deal about the world and actively work to find out more.

A. Gopnik, A.N. Meltzoff, & P.K. Kuhl. (1999). The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind. New York: Harper Collins