Young children learn best through their own curiosity and discovery. By observing their environment and peers, interacting with their surroundings, and obeying their instincts and impulses in a safe, educational space, children are able to craft their own education. Exploration is an essential part of development in academic spaces as well as in everyday life.
Independence & Autonomy
Facilitating education by exploration, especially with young children, can help them develop a strong sense of self by allowing them to investigate topics, objects, scenarios, and more that interest them. Additionally, by permitting self-guidance in an educational setting, instructors encourage students to be independent and autonomous; though instructors may offer suggestions or resources, the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge are enacted by the children alone.
In an exploratory education setting, children are largely responsible for the lessons they learn. Such an environment encourages curiosity. Instructors who encourage students to ask questions or simply investigate something of interest enable those children to develop both the ability to ask good, productive questions as well as a goal-oriented attitude; these traits are desirable in academic and professional settings, which means educators who encourage this behavior are setting their children up for success.
Self-guided learning and exploration are intrinsic, but pursuing things of interest also leads to connections. If a child finds another student with a similar fascination or a better understanding of a topic, he or she may be inclined to engage with the other child to enhance his or her own knowledge. Learning together can be a collaborative, social activity. Traditional, lecture-style classrooms can lead to isolation and an attitude of self-preservation; conversely, allowing students to explore and discover on their own can promote organic relationships that are strong, healthy, and productive.
Creativity & Critical Thinking
Encouraging children to guide their own education can lead to the discovery of a passion, interest, or talent. This discovery is often tied to a means of creative expression such as fine art, music, or theatre. Naturally, passions are diverse and may not be remotely artistic, but allowing children to explore and experiment in order to identify what appeals to them is what matters. Exploration promotes curiosity and discovery while limiting the fear of failure. Children who are permitted and encouraged to explore in order to advance their education can think more critically and approach subjects in a more interdisciplinary way.
Exploration is essential in education, especially for young children. Promoting exploration at all ages can help students become more confident, independent, creative, and collaborative.