Julie Rome Posted about 3 years ago Celebrating and Inspiring Curiosity as a Key Component in Learning Because curiosity is inate what we need to focus on is not killing it. Too many parents are fearful for their child's safety, which is appropriate to a point but has swung too far away from sanity. No one wants to see a child break an arm but a broken arm heals, a broken spirit doesn't. If children are afraid to try they will lose their ability to wonder. Likewise, we are afraid of failure - so we push children to "go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a great job." It simply doesn't work anymore but we are afarid of jumping off the treadmill to "success." The first thing I would recommend is to do away with grades. Assess children, or better yet teach them how to assess themselves, through portfolio work, conversations, and observations of how they work and what kind of problem solving skills do they have available. Then teach more "basic" skills, although I hate that expression because it has come to mean droning facts into a child's head. When I speak of basic skills I am refering to the ability to read and to act. Inventiveness can be fostered, for example, by asking children to build models of the pyramids or a working lock to raise and lower ships in a channel, while they are learning about these subjects. What we need to teach is how to cut, paste, saw, hammer, etc. Bringing hands-on activities into the classroom is imperative but we need to take that to a new level because now it's the teacher who introduces the idea of building pyramids. We need to make it possible for the child to think of that as one avenue of exploration, learning, and perhaps assessment. Children, like all the rest of us will apply their energies best if they have the right to decide their topics. The inate curiosity about mummies is the impetus, not the teacher's agenda. All knowledge is to be fostered and truly, except for basic skillssuch as reading and being able to manipulate numbers, the material that a child exercises his or her brain on is immaterial.