Educators recognize the importance of setting up classroom environments that encourage discovery and curiosity, especially in the early years. An environment that lends itself to discovery provides children with the opportunity to think, ask questions and to wonder. Wonder is an amazing way to learn about the world around you and to satisfy each individual child's curiosity. While children may wonder about similar things, there will always be unique and interesting things that they wonder about.
Inspired by my professional readings, I have been gathering items for our classroom over the course of the term. This along with the new treasures I have ordered through the division and a generous gift from one of our families, we now have lots to discover!
Children can be very creative in their play! I am always amazed at the new, innovative and fun ways children look at things. Letters and numbers from a light table become glasses, a table becomes a den for kittens, or dominoes can be made into a network of curbs to drive cars through.
The conversations I have had with students (and more importantly, that they have with each other) provide opportunities to describe, explain, or celebrate their ideas. They also have the chance to develop oral language skills with both teachers and peers.
Benefits of Discovery from A Place for Wonder, by Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough
Discovery stimulates curiosity,
students learn through inquiry and observation,
helps students to recognize and solve problems,
encourages exploration, interaction and discussions with peers,
allows students to gather data through their senses,
stimulates imagination and creativity,
encourages students to find or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences.