Children are naturally curious. By tapping into their inquisitiveness educators and parents can help children progress from being "question monsters" to being true inquirers. Inquirers actively seek answers to questions they have, think critically and creatively about the world around them, and are open-minded when accepting there may be many possible answers to the same question.
As as entry point, inquiry involves learners:
- tackling real-world questions, issues and controversies
- developing questioning, research and communication skills
- solving problems or creating solutions
- collaborating within and beyond the classroom
- developing deep understanding of content knowledge
- participating in the public creation and improvement of ideas and knowledge
Kathy Short, author contributor to Taking the PYP Forward: The Future of the IB Primary Years Programme, asserts "inquiry is a collaborative process of connecting to and reaching beyond current understandings to explore tensions significant to learners". By inviting children to embrace uncertainty as an opportunity to learn we set the stage for them to "ask why and consider what if" (Short, 2009). By collaborating with children and providing opportunities for children to co-inquire parents and educators become invaluable resources for children.
Parents can support children in developing skill and confidence as inquirers in a variety of ways:
- modelling curiosity and theorizing about possible answers
- asking deep-thinking questions
- providing items and engagements to spark children's curiosity
- working alongside children as partners in inquiry who are discovering key concepts about the world and their role in it