We are all born with questions. Babies make sense of their world initially through sound and tracking objects with their eyes. Quickly they reach and explore their world with their hands and their mouths. As children grow, they begin to ask questions, and anyone who spends even a little time with a 2-year-old has heard that ever-present question, “Why?” Children are wired for curiosity.
In schools, curiosity can be moved to the side for “learning.” Schools are charged with many things. The push to learn all of the academic subjects and be the very best at each of them can displace the curious nature of children. The focus on skills that are on the “test” can get in the way of questions that do not yet have answers. This TED talk by Fabien Cousteau begins with his reflection on his sense of curiosity, which he describes as “…our connection with the world, with the universe. It’s about seeing what’s around that next coral head or what’s around that next tree, and learning more not only about our environment but about ourselves.”
Cousteau talks about his years in school, his propensity to stare out the window and let his mind wander; he didn’t pay attention. One of the toughest things in a classroom is a student who does just what Cousteau describes. One of the most wonderful things is that same student. Children teach us each day to do our best and to try harder. They help us to ask questions, be curious and find solutions to problems we have not thought of previously. They make us all better as a result. All of us will learn and continue to learn if we are given the freedom to explore our curiosities and to wonder. At Wilmington Montessori School, our goal is to keep that curiosity alive and to never stop asking, “Why?”