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Extraordinary curiosity, full of desire and delight


Tuesday 04 October 2016

I’m really looking forward to the last week of October this year. This is the week that Aldo Fortunati, from San Miniato comes back to Ireland. He is speaking in Cork on October 25th and in Dublin (with Margy Whalley from Pen Green) on October 27th. Since I last heard Aldo Fortunati speak in Dublin, some years ago, I’ve been looking forward to hearing him speak again. I often read his poem Towards an idea of a Child, which is on my office notice board and it inspires my work.

Here are two verses from the poem. You can read the whole poem here

Toward an idea of a Child
Toward an idea of a rich child,
at the crossroads of possible worlds,
that lie in the present
and transforms the present into future.

Toward an idea of an active child,
guided in her experience
By an extraordinary curiosity
full of desire and delight.

Aldo Fortunati

We need to keep this vision and image of children real in our work with children under three. How can we and how do we facilitate children to have that extraordinary curiosity, full of desire and delight? Aistear supports us in this because it describes children as confident and competent learners. Trusting children can challenge us. We are afraid things can go wrong…but we have to accept that challenge, we have to slow down a bit, stand back and believe children are competent and so they will become ever more confident. If we constantly say Be Careful, we may unintentionally be giving children a message that they are not competent. My colleague Carol Duffy talks about the benefits of Risky Play in her blog here.

Thinking for a minute about curiosity. Babies are born curious. They look at, feel, reach, taste and touch everything. They figure out relationships, who to trust, who makes them laugh, who will play with them, who they can tease. I recall one of my children, aged about 18 months, being told to keep away from the cooker, putting out a hand towards the cooker, but not close enough to be hurt saying Hot, hot and pulling her hand back and laughing. This curiosity about relationships actually helps build relationships, full of delight and fun.

I love the words Aldo Fortunati uses in this poem and the idea of crossroads of possible worlds. As Early Years educators we are present at many of those crossroads and we can ensure that the roads we encourage and guide children down are the ones that enable children to be strong, social, active, curious and rich!

  • How are the babies and toddlers in your setting enabled to be curious?
  • What opportunities do they have to be creative?
  • How do they learn in companionship with you and other children?
Please share your ideas with us by adding a comment, we really love to hear your ideas!

And if you would like to hear Aldo Fortunati and Arianna Pucci speak about Exploring and Thinking: Focus on Birth to Three’s can go to Vienna Woods Hotel, Cork on October 25th from 7-9pm or at Marino College, Griffith Avenue, Dublin on October 27th from 2pm-5pm. Margy Whalley from Pen Green will also speak at the Dublin seminar, so a double treat in store! Bookings can be made through our website here.
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