"By being curious, we explore.
By exploring, we discover.
When this is satisfying, we are more likely to repeat it.
By repeating it, we develop competence and mastery.
By developing competence and mastery, our knowledge and skills grow.
As our knowledge and skills grow, we stretch and expand who we are and what our life is about. By dealing with novelty, we become more experienced
and intelligent and infuse our lives with meaning."
(Curious by Todd Kashdan, p.19-20)
In our classroom, curiosity, exploration and discover are actively encouraged through engagement with materials. The goal is not to learn to follow steps to complete a project the teacher created but rather to engage with materials as a way of expressing and discovering ideas. Sometimes the material leads to the idea and sometimes an idea seems to want to be formed with a particular media. Whatever the media, the idea is to be energized by finding one's unique artistic vision. Working among artist peers in the classroom adds to this experience.
What beings as open ended exploration leads to discovery - from the most basic discoveries that glue is sticky to more complex learning about colour mixing.
Kashdan writes that when the discovery is satisfying, it is more likely to be repeated. What makes a discovery satisfying? Often it is just having someone to share it with; having a witness to his or her process deepens a young child's engagement. Other times reflecting on the process through photos, portfolio review, speaking about artwork in a group, and writing children's statements increases the sense of satisfaction. Working with materials lead to development of confidence, skills, and the ability to make meaning through art. It is delightful to be a part of this process.