A new research report, launched today by child development expert Dr Jacqueline Harding, has found that encouraging child curiosity in real world events can support the development of critical thinking skills, improve resilience and enhance cognitive growth.
Using data from over 1000 children aged 8-15, with teachers and parents surveyed as part of the study, Dr Jacqueline Harding found that children almost unanimously expressed their belief that learning about real world events or news sometimes or always increases their motivation to learn. This view was supported by both parents and teachers, although teachers lamented the lack of time to be able to bring current affairs and real world events into the classroom.
This study has found that children want to be given the tools to help them make sense of the world from a young age
The results of Dr Jacqueline Harding’s report demonstrate that when real world news is delivered and explained in a way that stimulates curiosity, bringing current affairs into both the home and the learning environment can have significant benefits for child development. The study found that beyond supporting “healthy minds”, engaging in discussion and giving children the tools to understand real world events has the potential to deepen academic learning and enhance cognitive growth.
“This study has found that children want to be given the tools to help them make sense of the world from a young age and they thrive on that knowledge,” said Dr Jacqueline Harding. “I believe there is an opportunity for teachers and parents to build on that childhood interest and give young people even more tools to become the curious, critical thinkers of tomorrow.”
Other benefits identified include building resilience during the transition period to secondary school and the development of critical thinking skills which will be useful for a child’s future success.
Building on her findings, Dr Jacqueline Harding recommends that there is closer co-ordination between home and school to help equip parents with the tools to talk about difficult subjects, to help children make sense of the world around them and to spark curiosity.