Children ask fabulous questions. Their questions never come from a place of judgement or criticism, but instead are motivated by a genuine interest and fascination in how things work.
Students of all ages are keen to connect, and the more they understand about other humans, places and ways of knowing, the easier it is to find themselves in the world around them. From a pedagogical perspective, the art of question asking is a strategic tool used to build student engagement. When children are provided time to reflect on what they would like to know in regards to a specific concept or content area, they are more likely to forge a deeper connection to the subsequent learning involved - they see a purpose in knowing more, because it matters to their understanding of the world. Curiosity has informed our ongoing emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Junior School, as we seek to learn more about anti-racism and decolonizing our curriculum. Question asking also supports our young students with stepping into their own capacity as independent problem solvers. Rather than quickly providing children with the answer to a math problem or comprehension question, teachers model question asking to prompt the student to rethink their approach or access a new strategy that will help them meet with success, all on their own.
How do we know what we don’t know? It seems like such a strange question, but it does hold merit and is worth considering. Curiosity about self allows us to understand our origins and more about the lens with which we view the world. It allows us to develop a more open and accepting perspective of the world in which we live. To foster and support the curiosity and understanding of self, students in the Junior School learn strategies for goal setting and self reflection in our Health and Career Education classes.
When students have a solid understanding of self, they can then start to develop their curiosity of how their unique qualities contribute to their school community and to the broader world around them. In the Junior School, we continuously strive to recognize and celebrate differences to create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of everyone. This comes alive in our hallways through house teams, spirit days and a variety of student life events. These provide a space for students to further explore their understanding of self and community.
As leaders of the Junior School, our grade five students have opportunities to develop their curiosity through the leadership team and service program. Students ask questions such as: How can I contribute to making my school a better place? How can I initiate change? How can I be a leader for others? Through these conversations, students learn more about themselves, their peers and their school. It also allows students to consider the viewpoints of others, guiding them to become more empathetic, compassionate, and critical thinkers.
Beyond the physical classroom, many of our classes take their learning outside, deepening their curiosity and appreciation of the local environment. In these lessons, students learn the importance of biodiversity and the connections between indigenous culture and community. Our younger grades participate in loose parts play, where everyday objects are used for imaginative building and creativity. These opportunities boost social and problem solving skills, as well as support inclusion for all.
The British Columbia Ministry of Education continues to modernize its assessment expectations, and sets a high standard province wide for all schools to prioritize student self reflection and goal setting. Effective self reflection starts from a place of curiosity: where am I now; where did I start; where do I want to be? Modelling this in our own lives will motivate our children to naturally lean towards curiosity and questioning when approaching new and unfamiliar situations. Most importantly, to view the world from a lens of learning and possibility has incredible potential to foster a growth mindset, inspiring success in learning and in life!
By Casey Turnpenny, Junior School Principal and Laura Hazeldine, Junior School Vice Principal
At Aberdeen Hall, we seek to admit well-rounded students who choose to be at our school. We are looking for students who demonstrate leadership through academic performance, involvement in co-curricular activities and civic engagement. We care about our students and seek those who value education and are prepared to enrich our incredible school community.