The Curiosity Approach
The Curiosity Approach is a modern day approach taking inspiration from key Early Years pioneers such as Reggio, Steiner, Te Whariki and Montessori. In a time where technology is ever-advancing and taking over the ‘thinking’ in many aspects of our lives, the Curiosity Approach emphasizes the importance of encouraging our children to develop their own skills to become the ‘thinkers and doers’ of our future through the support of mindful, passionate practitioners and adapting our early years environments to inspire curiosity, wonder and awe.
As we welcome you into our nursery, we hope you experience a feeling of Hygge! Hygge (pronounced Hue-guh) is a Danish word used to describe a special feeling of cosiness, charm and something a little bit extraordinary.
Promoting a sense of Hygge in our nursery is encompassed by the Curiosity Approach and is important to us as it supports emotional well-being, togetherness and friendship, providing the perfect environment to discover and explore with confidence, or snuggle down and feel at ease.
Hygge is promoted throughout our environments using calm, neutral tones, twinkling lights, cosy dens and soft furnishings as we aim to create environments that show our children just how special and unique they are.
Our Magical Environments – “The Third Teacher”
Loris Malaguzzi’s states, “There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment”. At Station House we follow this theory which is why we place so much focus on creating environments that invite, intrigue and inspire our children, encouraging a life-long love of learning.
Magical environments alone are not enough and without mindful practitioners would soon lose their spark. Our practitioners at Station House are highly qualified, passionate about their work and dedicated to supporting our children through forming special relationships, engaging in quality interactions in their learning and modelling how to respect and love our environments, ensuring resources are handled with care and put back where they belong.
We create our magical environments by enriching them with carefully selected authentic resources, which we to refer to as ‘Treasures’ e.g. china tea-sets, trinkets, vintage vanity sets, glass perfume bottles, porcelain ornaments, mirrors and vintage hats, handbags and shoes.
I imagine many of us have fond childhood memories of visiting Grandparents and playing with trinkets, using ornamental animals in story telling, trying on hats and shoes or drinking our juice out of a china teacup. How special and privileged did you feel to have that trust placed in you?
How careful were you with those items?
How many hours could you spend tinkering and discovering?
Treasures that are exquisite, beautiful, intriguing, interesting, unique and delicate and that may be completely new to the children, promote a sense of curiosity for them to investigate and explore.
Such treasures often have real-life properties such as having small parts, being fragile and even breakable, which to many may seem absurd to offer to a group of children. However with a clear risk assessment, careful modelling and gentle encouragement, offering such treasures that do have consequences if not handled with care, demonstrates the trust and high expectations we have of our children, which in return encourages them to treat our resources and our environments with respect, care and value.
Another key part of our environments are loose parts, these are items such as fir-cones, pebbles, reels, shells, buttons, sticks, tubes, blocks, boxes, etc… which are open ended and have endless possibilities that are fabulous in supporting schematic play. Loose parts can be combined, transported, enclosed, positioned, rotated, connected and transformed, there is no right or wrong way!
They are items which feed our little ones’ natural curiosity, promoting concentration, engagement, problem solving, creativity, decision making, numeracy, questioning, making relationships and igniting imagination!
Such natural and true treasures that offer so much creative possibility are a million miles away from the traditional ‘bright, colourful, plastic’ toys that may typically be purchased for children.
Toys with a set purpose, or flashing lights and buttons are manufactured to keep up with the busy, hectic lifestyles we find ourselves in, to ‘entertain’ rather than ‘encourage’.
In comparison, the resources you will find in our nursery encourage high levels of involvement, independent thought, creativity and critical thinking.
Not only do such treasures provide a wealth of learning opportunities, but these real, recycled or repurposed treasures help protect the environment, by saving items sent to landfill and reducing contributions to plastic production.
Treasure Donations Welcomed!
If you have any unwanted treasures, charity shop bargains or carboot finds that you feel could add to our treasure collections, we would welcome any donations!
We began our Curiosity Approach journey in May 2019. Over the last few years we have spent a great deal of time developing our environments and practice by reflecting on the following:
‘Who are our environments for?’ - By getting down to the child’s level and seeing the room through their eyes we have gained a massive insight into layout, resources and comfort.
‘What are our aspirations for our children?’ – This has been inspirational in itself, to strip everything right back to what we aspire for our children: happiness, confidence, being engaged, motivated, resilient, creative, independent, risk takers, communicators, calm and curious.
‘How can we support our children to achieve this?’ – Thinking about the importance of developing those secure and special bonds with our Key Children, providing exciting environments, authentic resources and allowing them to try new things (taking risk).
‘Why do we offer certain resources?’ – Developing our understanding about brain development, schemas and the different ways children learn through the characteristics of effective learning has highly influenced our resourcing.
‘When?’ – Despite wanting to get everything done at once(!) Developing an action plan and working our way throughout the nursery, to ensure we show care and respect to every area of the setting, from the children’s main learning spaces to the entrance, gardens and bathroom.