Curious children do better at school, new research suggests.
Inquisitive youngsters are more focused in class, and therefore perform better at reading and mathematical tests, a study found.
Although children from less privileged backgrounds tend to do worse at school, the research found those who question the world around them perform as well as their well-off peers.
Lead author Dr Prachi Shah, from the University of Michigan, said: ‘Curiosity is characterised by the joy of discovery and the desire for exploration, and the motivation to seek answers to the unknown.
‘Promoting curiosity in children, especially those from environments of economic disadvantage may be an important, under recognized way to address the achievement gap.’
Curious children do better at school because they are more focused, research suggests (stock)
Curiosity drives a desire to learn
Dr Shah said: ‘Our results suggest that while higher curiosity is associated with higher academic achievement in all children, the association of curiosity with academic achievement is greater in children with low socioeconomic status.’
The researchers believe children from more financially-secure backgrounds have greater access to books that encourage reading and mathematical achievements.
Although youngsters from less privileged families may be more restricted to these resources, curiosity could drive a desire to learn, the researchers believe.
Dr Shah added: ‘Currently, most classroom interventions have focused on the cultivation of a child’s self-regulatory capacities, but our results suggest that an alternate message, focused on the importance of curiosity, should also be considered.
‘Promoting curiosity is a foundation for early learning that we should be emphasizing more when we look at academic achievement.’
The researchers add more research is required to determine how to boost curiosity to benefit children’s learning.
How the research was carried out
The researchers analysed 6,200 children at nine months and two years old, and again when they started school at around five.
Questionnaires were completed by the children’s parents to determine their youngsters’ level of curiosity.
The researchers also assessed the children’s reading and mathematical skills.
The findings were published in the journal Pediatric Research.
Youngsters who question the world around them do better in reading and maths tests (stock)
Maths games boost children’s understanding of arithmetic
This comes after research released last July suggested playing maths games boosts youngsters’ understanding of the subject.
Simply reading numbers off of cards and sorting them in numerical order is enough to aid children’s knowledge of arithmetic and geometry, a study found.
The authors, which included scientists from Harvard University, wrote: ‘The math games caused persistent gains in children’s mathematical abilities’.
They believe such play time should be incorporated into school curriculums to continue youngsters’ maths knowledge as they age.