THE CURIOSITY APPROACH
The Curiosity Approach is a modern-day approach to Early Childhood. Taking parts from Reggio, Steiner, Te Whāriki with a sprinkle of Montessori. It's a beautiful recipe book of wonderful ingredients, carefully mixed together with experience, passion and a love of Early Childhood. It's baked together in a mindful oven of loveliness that needs thoughtful practitioners and professionals to be mentally present, thankful and forever curious about their career with little children. But when it comes to the very core of what the team want to inspire within children, it really is all in the name… CURIOSITY! Be Curious, Have Fun, Make a Difference!
Named after an Italian town, the approach was developed by a teacher named Loris Malaguzzi with the help of local parents in the years after World War 2. In this approach to early education, children are valued as competent, resourceful, strong, resilient and full of curiosity. This innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it. In the Reggio Approach, children are encouraged to explore their ideas through a variety of “languages”, known as the ‘100 Languages’, including art, music, written and spoken language, imaginative play, sculpture and more. Questions are welcomed and are not answered solely by the educator; instead, the teacher and child will explore together to find the answer.
Key ingredients of Reggio in The Curiosity Approach...
- Environment is seen as the 3rd Teacher - it offers huge potential to inspire curious children. The environment should be filed with natural light, order and beauty. Clutter-free spaces where every resource is considered for its purpose and is ever-evolving to encourage children to delve deep into their interests.
- Children are viewed as confident and capable and are respected by providing authentic resources in their learning environment.
- An emphasis on hands-on discovery learning that allows the child to use all their senses and all of their "languages" to learn. Children must have many ways to express themselves.
- Children are seen as co-constructors of their own learning.
Te Whariki is the New Zealand early childhood education curriculum. Te Whariki is a holistic approach, underpinned by a vision for children who are competent and confident learners and communicators, healthy in mind, body and spirit. It allows educators to weave their own Whariki (mat) as it does not set guidelines for content or method.
Te Whariki had four guiding principles:
- Empowerment (Whakamana)
- Holistic Development (Kotahitanga)
- Family & Community (Whanau Tangata)
- Relationships (Nga Hononga)
Then strands and goals arise and are woven around the principles above.
- Well-being (Mana Atua)
- Belonging (Mana Whenua)
- Contribution (Mana Tangata)
- Communication (Mana Reo)
- Exploration (Mana Rotorua)
Key ingredients of Te Whariki in The Curiosity Approach …
- A child's learning environment should be enabling, stimulating and encourage children to explore new things.
- Children are active agents and that educators are there to support, guide and provide opportunities for children to learn an develop.
- Educators weave their own methods into the curriculum and create their own learning journey just as the children do.
- Educating children through head, hands and hearts.
Dr Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, who developed the Montessori Approach. In her approach she placed the child at the centre of the education process, an education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play.
Key ingredients of Montessori in The Curiosity Approach...
- Children are born with an ability and readiness to learn - they are driven to become self-motivated, independent learners through the freedom to choose their learning in a prepared environment.
- Children are prepared for the real world.
- All materials, resources have a proper place.
- Encourage children to work at their own pace, alone or with others. With uninterrupted blocks of time to become fully absorbed in activities which interest them.
The Steiner Waldoft approach is founded on the work of Austrian philosopher and educationalist Rudolf Steiner. He had the belief that young children are not physically, emotionally and intellectually ready for formal learning and that young children benefit from an unhurried and stress-free environment where there is time to discover the world around them and to master social and other life skills before abstract learning is introduced at seven years of age.
Key ingredients of Steiner in The Curiosity Approach...
- To support creative child-initiated play.
- Educators are conscious of being role models and use imitation and example as the educational approach rather than instruction and direction.
- Careful consideration is given to the detail of the quality of all aspects of the early childhood environment to ensure that it is gentle to the eyes, ears and all of the senses. Children learn through all their senses, head, hands and heart.
- Imagination is the heart of learning through storytelling, role-play, arts and drama.
- Children are surrounded by beauty in an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, a home-like setting filled with natural materials, with periods of free play to focus on their individual developmental needs.
- An appreciation of the natural world, where children value nature's gifts and understand the patterns of the seasons. The beauty of nature, plants and animals is brought to them with awe and wonder.
- To protect the child's right to a healthy and appropriate childhood.