As featured in the spring edition of Boulder County Kids

Curiosity is the desire to learn or know more about something. It can be a casual interest in
something new, or it can develop into an intense quest for knowledge or insight about
something more specific. Whatever form it takes, curiosity is an amazing human quality that
keeps us eager to learn. As adults, we know that curiosity enables us to work longer and harder and to retain the information we gather because we are personally interested. When you want to know more about something, whether it is science, crafts, or a hobby, you can study or practice it for long periods of time often without fatigue. Things learned out of curiosity also have a tendency to stay with us longer because our interest creates a space or place in our brain where the new information resides. The same is true with children.

Children are naturally curious. When they are young, everything is new and exciting. Their
sense of wonder should inspire us to look at the world with fresh eyes. The greatest gift we can give children to foster and nourish their sense of curiosity is the gift of time. Slowing down to see what happens when you touch a frost covered leaf or watch birds fly overhead helps children develop an awareness and sensitivity about what is going on around them. This awareness will lead to an even greater curiosity and lots of questions, especially as children get older and become more verbal. Slowing down also helps children develop their focus and attention span. When it comes to fostering curiosity, it is very often necessary to slow things down and give kids extra time to experience and explore their surroundings.

As children develop language, curiosity is often expressed in the form of questions. These
questions are a mental wondering that will arise out of their observations and experiences. The good news is that you don’t have to have all the answers. Actually, it is best if you don’t share all the answers you have! George Lowenstein, an American educator and economist at Carnegie Mellon University, developed the concept of Gap Theory. This idea simply states that when there is a gap in our knowledge, a space between what we know and what we want to know, it is like an itch that we must scratch. By wondering with your child, you communicate that you are not the holder or keeper of all information and knowledge, and, more importantly, that there is information out there that they can learn and discover as a result of their own effort. And that is how life-long learners are born!

Another powerful way to inspire and encourage curiosity is to practice it yourself. Wondering with your child, modeling how you might find information to answer a question, or just sharing things you discover all help create an environment and culture that promotes curiosity, and who knows, you might just learn something along the way! Simply look for ways every day to foster a sense of curiosity in your child and watch them grow and become life-long learners.

Curiosity: The Key to Lifelong Learning

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Mountain Shadows Montessori School offers AMI programs for students 12 months to 12 years old.


...So, what is AMI?

Association Montessori Internationale

AMI is the organization that is tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of Maria Montessori's legacy. Mountain Shadows and AMI share a mission to support children's natural development and to help them become the transformative force of society.

This comes with a commitment to a standard of excellence, defined by...

01

Rigorous and extensive training

including the study of child development and a deep understanding of the Montessori materials to assist the teacher in creating the environment necessary for this work.

02

Three-year age ranges

within each classroom that allow children to work at their own pace and level of development.

03

Extended work time,

including a three hour uninterrupted work cycle.

04

Upholding international standards

through expert consultation every three years and regular and ongoing study of pedagogy and practice.

For your child, this means...

Curiosity

Whether it's digging in the dirt or discovering the universe.

Confidence

Whether it's speaking your mind or learning to speak up.

Creativity

Whether it's composing a song or coming up with a big idea.

Respect

Whether it's for ourselves or for others.

Energy

Whether it's work or play.

Critical Thinking

Whether it's studying science or solving a problem.

Responsibility

Whether it's doing your part or doing what's right.

Independence

Whether it's planning your day or preparing your own lunch.

Collaboration

Whether it's deciding together or sharing the work.

Community

Whether it's supporting your friends or saving the planet.

This is what Mountain Shadows means for your child.