The Curiosity of Children


cc licensed photo by docmoreau

I love the natural curiosity of children.

Today, my nephew (who is 5 and in kindergarten) looked at his dad (my little brother), and asked him about a song they had heard this morning in church. He said, “Daddy… will you teach it to me?” He knew the words already, but he wanted to learn how to play the song on the piano.

Because this child has grown up in a very  musical family, he has been exposed to all types of music and instruments.  My brother sat at the piano, played the song for him and sang it with him, and then started to teach him the chords. His little hands are barely big enough to play the triads, but he did it. He played an e minor triad and an a minor triad in a little less than a few minutes.

The point of this blog post is not how brilliant my nephew is.  As I sat and listened to the two of them learning at the piano, his question resounded with me, and I knew I had to write about this.  “Daddy, will you teach it to me?”

How many times as teachers and/or parents  have we heard a child ask us to help him/her learn something?

  • Will you show me?
  • Will you read this with me?
  • Will you help me?

How many times have we been too busy to do just that? How many times have we said, “Not now. I’m busy,” or “We’re not on that part of the book yet. Please sit down and wait.”

I think about some of the things that happen in my music classroom, and I wonder… if I had pacing guides or rigid curriculum scripts,  would I have the freedom to stop what we’re doing and encourage that child’s natural curiosity?

Another interesting thought… if you answered “yes” to hearing children ask you those questions, my guess is that you are either a parent/relative of young children or a teacher of young children. I have a feeling that a lot of our older children have lost a sense of curiosity or have been discouraged from asking those types of questions.

Am I way off the mark here? If so, I apologize. But if I’m not… what can WE do as parents and educators to ensure that the natural curiosity of children of all ages is encouraged and cultivated?