The Utter Joy of Curiosity

Children come to school curious about how the world works and over time we squelch that curiosity out of them by not fostering and further developing it.  I teach an elementary science and social studies methods course and I’m constantly trying to reconnect my graduate students back to their childhood and back to their innate curiosity.

Now that I’m a mother of a four year old, I’m even more aware of just how curious children are.  Every Friday the two of us plan our Friday Fun Day.  My son takes the lead and decides what we’ll do and this Friday was science experiment day.  Experiencing “dancing raisins” through his eyes was one of those moments I’ll cherish my entire life.

After reading Why Preschool Shouldn’t Be Like School and Ready Freddy?! I am really questioning why elementary schools don’t focus more on social studies, science and curiosity in general?  There’s such a push for reading, writing and mathematics (not that I’m knocking those subjects, but social studies and science go hand in hand with curiosity).  How do we change this? Certainly by making sure preschool is not like school and we’re not trying so hard to make our children “kindergarten ready” because if that’s the focus, we miss this…

And I certainly don’t want to miss a second of it!


  • This is absolutely adorable! And you are completely right! Kids need to be excited about school, and they need to be curious about the world around them. Science engages almost every student in a class, and social studies, if presented in a certain manner, can do the same. Yes, reading and math (and I particularly love math!) are important, but can’t we teach reading and math through science and social studies? I feel like many teachers forget this is even possible as they cram for the test.

  • I see my students at the School for Young Children get excited about science everyday and I always feel sad when students do not get the opportunity to question why things are the way they are. It makes students excited about school and they want to learn. I want to be able to make this possible for students and make them interested in what they are going to be learning.

  • I love Curran’s excitement in this video! There’s so many students who do not get this opportunity to experiment and wonder and I feel like its our job as future teachers to make sure that our students get this opportunity. I have many memories of science experiments in elementary school and having fun doing these experiments and I think that’s what teaching is all about, making the learning process fun so that students can experience the joy of wonder.

  • It’s been a while since I’ve seen excitement in a student about science. Usually, I hear the “ugh” response…but science doesn’t deserve that response, it’s the way we teach it that makes kids unsure of it. I think that if we provide hands on experiences like the raisin activity, we can get all students to become curious and be excited about science like Curran was.

  • Katelyn, I agree with you! Dr. Curran’s excitement and enthusiasm in this video is great! Maybe if more teachers had the attitude that she has towards science, students would become more interested in the subject. Students need to explore and have fun with doing so! As a teacher, I want to provide countless chances for my students to explore and learn through science.

  • Christina Whitaker

    This video is absolutely adorable!! I was actually just talking with some teachers the other day about how they feel that their students this year seem to have much harder time understanding concepts or being interested in activities because they are so focused on technology (ipads, ps2) and the television that their imaginations are beginning to wither away. It is sad to think that lessons are beginning to become harder to make fun and engaging for children because many of them do not find the simpliest things like dancing raisins exciting anymore because they are so wrapped up in technology. I am worried that the innocence of children will eventually become nonexistent.

  • It is adorable how excited your son gets while doing this little experiment. I think studetns would be more excited about science if a- they have the opportunity to learn and do science/experiments b- depending on the age play it out a bit and make the students role one of importance in the experiment. For example calling them scientists and making them feel the part and want to participate in the activities/learning!

  • I think it is shameful that certain subjects are viewed as being more important than others. All children are different and respond differently to each subject. I absolutely feel that each student has the potential to excel in each subject, but I also feel that certain students will click with particular subjects. If we, as teachers, minimize the importance of a subject that a student has the potential to excel in, it will be doing a disservice to them.

  • Pingback: What I’ve learned from blogging this year… | The Dyslexic Professor

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