The Curiosity Approach
“Stop squeezing the paint”
“ that’s enough now!”
Do some of the children in your setting just love squeezing the paint, watching it as it oozes onto the paper or table?
Perhaps they have no interest (at all) in painting or using the paint they’ve just apparently ‘wasted?’
Have you ever caught yourself saying the above words & dictating how the paint ‘should’ be used ?
Isn’t it OUR own ‘expectation’ how the paint should be used ?
How much is enough ?
How much is acceptable ?
Directing them AWAY from their idea and stating
“Let’s paint a picture instead”
Isn’t it time we paused before uttering all the sentences that stilt stop and stifle curiosity ?
Ever stopped to wait watch and wonder instead ?
To WATCH what the child is actually doing? To be present and take time to notice ?
( DON’T for heavens sake, interrupt and ask them “ ahh that looks good what you doing ? “ ) pause, notice, watch in awe and fascination.
Let’s also mindfully consider
That a child who is squeezing the living day light out of the paint bottle is actually processing thoughts, investigating and making discoveries!
They have an URGE to squeeze that bottle and watch as the paint
Squirts, splutters, drips, oozes, dribble out.
THEY are internally testing ideas, processing thinking and being that little scientist !
What if I squeeze a little ?
What if squeeze a lot ?
What if I pump it ?
What happens if I hold it higher, lower?
Have you EVER taken the time to watch their explorations and discoveries ?
To see the curious child who is investigating and learning?
OR do you stop them in their tracks?
“That’s enough paint now”
Ever considered that this experience is the child’s favourite way of learning?
Let’s consider are they the very same child who also is
🔹constantly playing with the taps in the bathroom ?
🔹They love to throw things & enjoy seeing them drop and fall ?
🔹Maybe this is the child who is constantly knocking a brick tower down
🔹Or loves running at speed ?
🔹 Perhaps they love to throw balls or hit the ground with a stick ?
Is this them ?
Then let’s consider and recognise that this child has most likely an URGE, a schematic learning style.
A ‘Trajectory schema’
They love momentum and movement, to see how things fall, land, to watch as they move!
Schematic learning styles or schemas are Repeated patterns of behaviours that allow him or her to learn!
To test and figure things out.
He /she is hypothesising, exploring, discovering and making sense of the world around them.
Reframe thinking this isn’t to annoy us or misbehave!
This is neuroscience, child development and it’s important to understand.
‘Learning’ isn’t in the nicely painted picture or end result!
Learning happens when children are free to enjoy the PROCESS! It’s in the DOING.
To PLAY !!!!
The children here, are developing valuable fine motors skills.
Imagine how much effort goes into squeezing that bottle (watch next time )
Let’s also remember that some children are sensory seekers and some may struggle processing sensory experiences.
They are over or under responsive to sensory input ?
EVERY child learns differently !
What every child needs is adults who recognises and understands the magical moments.
WAIT * WATCH * WONDER
To recognise how much joy, happiness and learning is happening at these times of exploration, chaos and mess !
So next time you catch yourself about to say “ that’s enough paint / glue now”
Reframe, rethink and consider what amazing things ( learning ) would happen if you allowed a child to be a pilot in their own play !
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Thank you Knighton Day Nursery, a Curiosity Approach Accredited setting for this image
The Curiosity Approach The Curiosity Approach® is a modern day approach to Early Childhood. It’s a beautiful recipe book of wonderful ingredients, carefully mixed together with experience, passion and a love of Early Childhood.