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First Grade Curiosity

The history of human knowledge has been one long search for explanations of occurrences. In spite of the growth of human knowledge, we adults still have quantities of questions that have not yet been answered. In addition, there are the basic questions of human existence - Why was the world created? Is there a higher intelligence in the universe? How were the laws of nature established?

Given this basic mystery of existence, we cannot be surprised that children believe things that to us seem most unlikely, from Santa Claus to fairies to all kinds of magic and ritual. The superstitions of adults are the childish explanations of existence that have never been corrected by knowledge.

Because the world is so full of unexplained occurrences, children might come to feel that there is altogether too much for them to comprehend, and they might retreat from seeking answers. By making it all right not to know, teachers can help children not to become overwhelmed by the complexities of life.

One of the great joys of teaching is to encourage and support curiosity. We share with the child a sense of puzzlement and lead him or her toward explanations. At the same time, a child needs to feel satisfied that what he/she knows is adequate for his/her age. Children who come to feel that everything is too hard are in danger of losing their curiosity.

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