The Capacity for Wonder is the Child’s Key to Learning

Friday 4th September 2015
– Julie Wylie 

“I looked out the window and what did I see?
Popcorn popping on the apricot tree,
Spring has given such a lovely surprise,
Blossoms popping right before my eyes,
It isn’t really so, but it seems to me,
That there is popcorn popping on the apricot tree”.

Springtime is such a beautiful time of year with longer warmer days, blossom trees, daffodils and other spring flowers opening and flowering. Birds are singing their spring songs. There is evidence of new life everywhere. The longer sunny days invite us outside to play and drink in the beauty of nature.

When we experience all the joys and wonders of nature with our children, we are helping them to experience a lifelong appreciation and sense of wonder at the miracle of creation. It is this sense of wonder that is the key to a child’s learning. A child experiences rich new sensations as they explore,observe, listen, watch and create. Watching a bird gather insects and worms to feed their baby birds in the nest, watching a spider spin it’s web, observing a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis are all enriching, wonderful experiences. The child learns to see things with new eyes, appreciating colours, shapes, forms, developing insights, new understanding and perceptions that influence and inspire in so many ways. Developing a sense of curiosity and wonder causes the child to try new ways of doing things, to dream, to create, to question and to problem solve.

Socrates said that the ability to view he world with a sense of wonder is the highest level of intellectual activity, “for wonder is the feeling of a philosopher and philosophy begins in wonder”. Bjorkvold  p 161-162 (1989) believes that reason is learning’s secure frame of certainty, wonder is it’s inquiring restlessness. He suggests that the capacity for bold wonder is crucial if the children of today are to create the society of tomorrow. As we explore, listen, learn and play with our children we learn to be together in the moment, to imagine, to be inspired, to become childlike and to develop a mutual sense of awe and wonder.

Bjorkvold, J. (1989) The Muse Within. Harper Collins Publishers. New York.