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Parent Guide: The Curiosity Approach

Here at The Butterfly Patch, we are constantly raving about The Curiosity Approach. We encourage its use across all of our nurseries and believe it’s a wonderful learning tool.

But what actually is it? Why do we seem to love it so much? And what does your little one get up to all day?

Let’s find out!

In short, The Curiosity Approach aims to create ‘thinkers & doers’ by putting children at the centre of their own development and learning.

Standard toys and technology are taken away from the learning environment and are replaced with everyday items (such as cutlery, pots, old tech, pillows etc.) to encourage children’s natural curiosity to explore and create.

This offers our little ones an amazing sensory opportunities to learn through real life, natural, holistic objects, and thingamajigs!

The Curiosity Approach draws from various philosophies of early education.

It was founded by Lyndsey Hellyn and Stephanie Bennett who between them run six nurseries across the Midlands and have over 50 years of childcare experience.

You can find out more about the philosophy and its background by clicking here.

So how does it work in practice?

Firstly, the nurseries are painted in neutral colours to create a serene, ‘homely’ environment, filled with easily accessible resources at eye-level. This also allows for more displays of artworks created by children to personalise the space.

Plastic toys are then replaced with ordinary, real-life items made of wood or other natural materials, promoting recycling, upcycling and reuse. They can include anything from cutlery, pots and pans to nuts and bolts.

This encourages children to create their own toys to play with while at the same time learning about the world whilst using imagination, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Children go back to basics and have to use their imagination to figure out what each item is for/how to use it.

They are able to explore the various textures and authentic resources (for instance cultural or community items), incorporating learning about the world around them into playtime.

The items can be lined up, counted, combined, or be used for drawing or writing.

This gives the children control to shape their playtime, rather than the toy shaping and limiting it, encouraging children to think for them themselves and build confidence.

In summary, by providing more open opportunities for play, children are able to develop more holistically than by playing with toys with a specific purpose.

For instance, playing with number blocks will develop solely math skills. They can instead use spoons and forks to make patterns, count, use in roleplay and more to develop communication, math and creativity skills!

Below we’ve included some resources for further reading and at-home activities!


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