Teacher Diaries: Ms. Nordstrom – Discovery
Encouraging a Child’s Self-Discovery
Children are born with an innate drive to discover the world around them, from the time when they are toddlers, dropping their pacifiers off of their high chairs and exploring the spatial limits of rooms by crawling, they have a natural urge to question and understand how the world and their surroundings work.
Children are guided to discovery by their curiosity and by their desire to learn. It is not pressure that produces success at school or a passion for a subject once a child grows older – the best motivator is interest and it is a child’s innate desire to learn, their curiosity, that will make them a great student.
If their curiosity is encouraged, children can grow to discover new things about themselves, discover new passions, new talents and interests that greatly benefit their emotional and intellectual intelligence.
To help your child on their own journey of discovery, here are some tips to consider:
Let your child see you pursuing your own interests and being interested in the world around you, model the behavior and inquisitive nature that will encourage your child to ask their own questions.
- Don’t discourage! Follow natural interests
If your child loves drawing, enroll them in a drawing class or paint with them; if they love music, play music for them often; if they love dancing, dance together. Encourage your child’s natural interests and try to allow for their own self-discovery rather than molding them. Children learn by doing and they can be very sensitive to discouragement – if your child has a tendency for digging around in the houseplant pots, make it a positive opportunity to discover an interest – plant some bean seeds in a small cup, try some fun learning activities that incorporate soil (like these)!
- Create an interesting environment
This does not mean your child has to be pursuing self-discovery or their interests by finger-painting in your living room – it is about allowing a child to discover what they like and are good at by letting them have some freedom, carve out a designated space (and perhaps time) in your home that is specifically for creativity, experimentation and free play.
- Explore the outdoor environment
Lastly, take time to let your children explore nature, like going hiking, visiting botanical gardens or camping. Children remember experiences more than what they are told to do or not do, encourage them to discover new experiences by investing time in outdoor activities.