Campfires and Curiosity
Curiosity sparked. It’s part of our Vision and a key driver in learning, but how do we spark curiosity in our students and what does it have to do with a campfire?!
When we build a campfire, we need fuel – kindling wood, logs – and of course a spark to get the fire going. Our role as educators is to ignite a love of learning and to provide students with the right fuel or conditions – a nurturing and safe environment, intentional experiences, and a richness of opportunities – to help them both find and ignite the spark of curiosity from within (it is no wonder that our Mission talks about spirited students!)
In our Early Childhood program, we do this using a teaching and learning strategy called provocation. While not a term many parents will usually associate with small children, provocation is an incredibly effective way of creating the right conditions to stimulate a child’s natural curiosity and wonder about how things work. Provocations are intentional experiences around a particular area of focus and involve immersion in a topic, hands-on practical learning, integrated literacy and numeracy activities, and field trips to learn more from experts outside the classroom. The provocations are designed to help students decide for themselves which area of inquiry to pursue based on their interests and at the end of the experience, learning is shared through formal Learning Celebrations. As you will read and see here (note, the heart-warming video and photos were taken in early 2020, well before the MCO) a remarkable level of engagement, problem-solving, critical thinking, and enthusiastic learning (think SLRs) is created when students are encouraged to pursue their passions and interests in such an intentional way.
We know that learning is enhanced and enduring when students are engaged in activities that are authentic, relevant, and meaningful to them. Starting these experiences in Early Childhood lays an important foundation for developing executive functioning skills and shaping a child’s attitudes and behaviors around learning that will stay with them for life. As our students progress through Elementary, Middle, and High School, while our approach to student agency develops in complexity it is always underpinned by the belief that student voice and choice in their learning matters deeply and is an essential ingredient in sparking curiosity.
I wish everyone a very Happy Malaysia Day next week!
Head of School