Want your child to excel in math? The solution lies in curiosity

A curious child is more likely to excel in math and reading, irrespective of his socio-economic background, says researchers at the University of Michigan in the US.
Curiosity helps children learn better.(Shutterstock)
Curiosity helps children learn better.(Shutterstock)
Updated on Apr 30, 2018 02:48 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByMeenakshi Iyer

Children are born curious, a reason why they are always asking questions and seeking answers. A secure child with a familiar teacher/caretaker can benefit from this curious nature. Children seek novelty in safe and familiar settings, perhaps this is the reason why they are always exploring around their homes and playschools.

Although children’s curiosity is known to be important for early learning, there was never a study conducted on testing its importance against academic achievements. Researchers at the University of Michigan in the US hypothised that greater curiosity would be associated with greater kindergarten academic achievement in reading and math.

Method for study

The researchers measured curiosity based on a behavioural questionnaire from parents and assessed reading and math among kindergartners. Data from 6,200 children was analysed for the study. “Curiosity is characterised by the joy of discovery and the desire for exploration and is characterised by the motivation to seek answers to the unknown,” said lead researcher Prachi Shah, an assistant research scientist at University of Michigan.


She added, “Our results suggest that while higher curiosity is associated with higher academic achievement in all children, the association of curiosity with academic achievement is greater in children with low socioeconomic status.” This proves that irrespective of economic background, children with higher curiosity fared well.

Thus it is important to promote curiosity among children, especially those from environments of economic disadvantage. When it comes to nurturing curiosity, the quality of the early environment matters, researchers said.

Here’s how you can improve your child’s curiosity

1) Provide a stimulating environment: Take help from education toys and books to promote curiosity.

2) Encourage questions: No question is silly or stupid. Have the patience to answer them or seek answers if you are not able to come up with something substantial.

3) Encourage looking for answers: You can encourage your child to use various tools to find an answer to their curious questions.

4) Reward effort: Once your child has embarked on his journey to find answers to his questions, reward him so that he’s encouraged to repeat this behaviour.

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