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When children are encouraged to explore, question, and seek answers from a young age, they develop a natural inclination towards curiosity-driven inquiry. This not only fosters a love for learning but also cultivates essential skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Nurturing curiosity in childhood lays the groundwork for an adulthood where individuals are better equipped to face challenges, embrace new ideas, and contribute meaningfully to the world around them.

In the Llamas Class of two-year-olds, teachers placed ramps around the classroom and had children explore them with different objects, such as balls and cars. They worked together to predict which items would roll the fastest down each ramp. Children noted that different ramp lengths and heights created different speeds. When the students showed keen interest in how quickly small cars raced down the ramp, their teachers took the opportunity to provide paint to add to their cars’ wheels. Children made note of the difference that paint made for the speed of their cars as well as the new colors that formed where tire tracks overlapped. Teachers prompted their thought process by asking questions like “why do you think that car is faster?” and “what do you think would happen if we took away some of the height of the ramp?”. When discussing newly discovered ideas, teachers used advanced vocabulary such as steep, slope, and incline as they worked alongside children.

Hands-on experiences, like this ramp activity, are an integral part of the STREAMin3 curriculum utilized at Peake. STREAMin3 is grounded in developmental and early childhood research and approved by the Virginia Department of Education. This curriculum emphasizes teacher-child interactions, providing intentional activities and soft scripts for teachers, while incorporating STREAM skills (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math).

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