Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Formalised Curiosity


Tuesday 22 January 2019

I recently came across this quote: ‘Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose’ (Zora Neale Hurston). As we in Early Childhood Ireland plan our fifth annual National Early Childhood Research Conference, it struck me as very apt.

Aistear encourages curiosity. The themes of Identity & Belonging and Exploring & Thinking both identify the disposition of curiosity as one that early learning and care practitioners should support and encourage young children to develop. In Exploring & Thinking, Aistear says that children need to be able to act on their curiosity, to take risks, and to be open to new ideas and uncertainty. How can we do this?

I think one key way is by modelling. Are we curious in our work and practice? For many, the answer to that is yes! Numerous early learning and care practitioners are taking part in further study beyond the minimum Level 5 required. That’s a fairly curious bunch of people. These people will check papers such as the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) data. They will refer to documents such as the Pobal Early Years Sector Profile. They will go to Google Scholar for the most up-to-date research on their chosen topic and they will go back to the greats, such as Vygotsky, Piaget, Montessori, and Dewey (among others) to find the Holy Grail. That’s curiosity in action, that’s research.

From this reading and checking and studying comes new research. That new research needs to be shared. It needs to be recognised, poked at, and pried; as the quote above says. The Early Childhood Ireland National Early Childhood Research Conference provides students with this opportunity. If you have carried out a research project for your QQI level 7, 8, 9 or 10 studies, spread the word and tell your peers about it. Take the opportunity to be proud of the research you have carried out, knowing that it gives other practitioners the chance to act on their curiosity and to be open to new ideas and uncertainty (just as Aistear says).

Research comes in all guises. It can be very factual and quantitative. The data from this kind of research aids planning, provides evidence for funding and sustainability submissions, and provides context for other research. But research can also be very practical and hands-on. This kind of research happens in settings every day. It may not be documented and it may not be thought of as research, but it is the germ of research nonetheless. When you notice that a child is bursting to tell you something in the morning, you listen to the story and the journey to something wonderful begins. Go a step further and align what has unfolded with your knowledge of child development and something you read for your degree, and you’re well on your way to a gripping action research project.

We see this in the great learning stories and examples of innovative practice submitted for our awards. That is how our sector becomes ever more professional and cutting-edge. You could well inspire a fellow professional to expand on your ideas with a study of their own.

By indulging our own curiosity as practitioners, we in turn foster that disposition in children. We truly understand that it is by poking and prying that all of us learn best. We ask the what about, the what if, the so what questions and together, with children, we find out the answers.

Albert Einstein reputedly said, ‘Curiosity is a delicate little plant that, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom’. Free your curiosity and submit an abstract for the Early Childhood Ireland National Research Conference - come along on April 12!


Máire Corbett is an Early Childhood Specialist at Early Childhood Ireland. She trained in Montessori teaching and has completed an MA in Integrated Provision for Children and Families with the University of Leicester at Pen Green.

"Visiting member settings inspires me as I see the passion and energy educators put into providing great experiences for the children in their settings. I love seeing competent children at play!"

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Exclusion(1) Children(1) Painting(1) Pen green(1) Self Help Skills(1) christmas(8) Irish(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Wesco(1) GDPR(1) dining(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Meet the Members(1) Glitter(2) transitions(9) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) NCCA(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) National Awards 2019(1) Home Corner(1) Laugh(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Inspirational(2) Síolta(89) Masterclass(2) Snacks(1) Awards(2) Wrapping paper(1) First 5(1) science week(2) Twitter(1) DCYA(3) Celebrations(4) Smiles(1) Biting(1) Awards 2018(3) Playdough(1) Graduate(1) MECPI(1) Advocacy(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Culture(2) Relaxation(1) Treasure(1) Shoes(1) Event Guide(1) under 3's(3) Mud kitchens(1) Empathy(1) Environment(1) Magic(1) Rituals(1) Touch(1) risk assessment(1) Yoga(1) Art(6) Blocks(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Book Club(2) Interests(1) Sport(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Maths Week(1) Impact(1) Mental Health(2) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Graduation(1) Nutrition(1) budget(1) STEM(2) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Well-Being(5) Gratitude(1) Penguins(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) educating(1) Arithmetic(1) Budget 2018(1) Spiders(1) Challenges(1) Death(1) Learning Story(1) Mixed age groups(2) Love(2) listening(1) science(3) risk(2) stories(2) Learning Story Awards(1) early childhood educator(1) Names(1) Pobal sector profile(1) IGL(1) Engineers Week(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) Drawing(2) Leprechauns(1) bonds(1) Consent(1) Santa(2) Plants(1) communication(4) refugees(1) Buddies(1) Playschool(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Confident(1) Cork(1) Jenga(1) Storytelling(2) Vertical grouping(1) development(6) Map(1) AIM(1) education(2) Sustainability(3) Community involvement(1) food(1) social media(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Syria(1) respect(4) Quality(3) Thank you(1) Malaguzzi(1) Mayo(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Time Out(1) Settling in(1) Engineering(2) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Games(1) ECEC(1) Routines(1) Norway(2) Margy Whalley(1) National Awards 2018(2) Story(1) Iraq(1) SPICE Framework(1) Dance(1) Teamwork(1) Cognitive development(1) Thinking(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) relationships(11) Winter(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Builders(1) pets(1) Mount Everest(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Wilenski(1) Sustainable(1) overhear(1) Supernanny(1) Flowers(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Brain(1) Traditions(2) memories(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) CPD(1) Decisions(1) babies(5) RIE philosphy(1) risky play(2) Certificate(1) preschool(2) Through the looking glass(1) animals(2) baby room(1) Autism(2) Funding(1) listen(1) Shapes(1) Our Little Seed(1) emotions(2) Traffic Lights(1) Kids Own(1) Professionalisation(4) Identity(4) Special Needs Assistants(1) Photographs(1) Gardening(1) outdoor space(3) Arlene Forster(1) Facebook(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Adoption(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Buddy Bench(1) Seas Suas(1) Online(1) linc(1) Care-giving routines(1) Imagination(3) Childhood(1) Sweets(1) Health(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Maynooth(1) Childcare(1) routine(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Magnavacchi(1) Upcycling(1) Sculptures(1) UN(1) dining experiences(1) trust(2) Arts(1) Snack Time(1) Mark Twain(1) Behaviour(3) Nuturing interactions(1) play stories(1) environments(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) EECERA 2016(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Plastic(1) Mathematicians(1) grandchild(1) scéalta(23) Anxiety(2) Care routines(1) Socioemotional development(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(1) Patterns(1) Leargas(1) Scéalta Blog(72) reading(4) Snakes(1) Communicating(1) Oireachtas(1) Potential(1) Family(1) INTO(1) curiosity(3) Loss(1) Running(1) worries(1) documentation(2) Thanks(1) Wonder(1) ears(1) Feeding(1) Favouritism(1) San Miniato(3) Administrative Burden(1) Vietnam(1) Child mental health(1) Fabric(1) National Holiday(1) Decision Making(1) Awards 2019(1) Early Years Educators(1) Interactions(1) story time(1) First 5 strategy(1) Lego(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) MA(1) Educators(1) research(5) Degree(1) PIP(1) journey(1) feisty(1) Trigonometry(1) Access and Inclusion Model(1) Queues(1) Easter(1) Valentine's Day(3) Magda Gerber(1) United Nations(1) Weather(1) Identity and Belonging(3) Capable(1) Giraffe(2) Laughter(1) learning(14) Treasure Chest(1) Aistear(94) San Minia(1) Maths(4) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Eritrea(1) Maria Montessori(1) Grief(1) Titles(1) Kerry(1) Trick or treat(1) Music(2) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Trade union(1) Mo Scéal(1) Craft(1) Limerick(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Learning journals(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) TOY Programme(1) Budget 2019(2) Sequins(1) Montessori(2) Albert Einstein(1) Xbox(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Line-ups(1) Obesity(1) Research Seminar(1) Self-Esteem(1) Mealtimes(1) planning(1) Kilkenny(1) Belonging(3) play(28) early years research(1) eating(1) Prexit(1) outdoors(3) ICBN(1) Fantasy play(1) Inter-generational(1) Bereavement(1) dogs(1) community(4) Competent(1) Inclusion(1) Afghanistan(1) Halloween(2) Visitors(1) Recycling(2) Training(2) mushrooms(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Little Buddies(1) Stress(2) Time(1) Celebrate(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Trade Unions(1) educarer(1) Affordability(1) Creativity(4) interacting(2) toddlers(3) Qualifications(1) Maynooth University(1) Ceremony(1) Síolta QAP(1) Exploring(1) dublin(2) friendships(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Change(1) Academics(1) Recycle(1) College(1) Family wall(1) Window(1) Breathing(2) AsIAm(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) curriculum(5) experience(1) ERASMUS+(3) Light table(1) outdoor play(6) Mantra(1) Children's Rights(1) Self-regulation(1) role playing(1) meals(3) Reggio(1) ECCE(6) Independence(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Positivity(1) Research Conference 2019(1) University(1) Scents(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) ReCreate(2) Learning Stories Award(3) conversations(1) Frustrations(1) Party(1) Investment(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Policy(2) Creative(1) Learning Stories(7) Role play(1) Performing(1) parents(5) CIT(1) EM Standing(1) Exercise(1) Mindfulness(2) Appreciation(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) NAEYC(1) Tuscan Approach(2) blog(28) Exit interview(1) Meal time(1) Technology(2) Primary School(2) The Jelly King(1) Italy(1) books(4) Wendy Lee(2) Orla Kenny(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Children's Research Network(1) Pobal(1) UNCRC(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine