Inquiry is the part of the mind that seeks, quests, desires, searches, questions, explores, pursues, sniffs, digs, hunts, investigates, plots, and plans—this is the facet of the being/mind that is curious and that hungers for answers, information, and knowledge.

As far as what we currently know about the brain’s development, curiosity is activated at birth. This is one trait that does not need to be taught. Children at the youngest stages will be curious, they will explore, they will try to figure things out. We know that the cerebral cortex—main locale for rational thought and critical thinking—is not fully formed until later in adulthood; but the big however is that the brain is exploding with development every second during the early childhood years. Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child reports that one million new neural connections are formed every second during the first few years of life.

Our knowledge of brain development has enormous implications for the work educators do with young children. This topic of Inquiry is without a doubt of crucial importance to researchers, educators, and of course to parents, as we now know the amazing influential themes of curiosity and thinking in the growth of the young child and the healthy development of the brain.

The realm of inquiry is the center of the academic mindset that leads to successful learning and a lifetime of realizing one’s potential. Knowledge is centered on the process and actions of inquiry, which means developing those crucial thinking skills that lead to analysis and interpretation. When the experience with inquiry and the construction of knowledge are incorporated effectively throughout one’s schooling, children will then gain the confidence and esteem necessary to take risks and being imagining their own development and the betterment of the world around them—themes pursued in the third “I” section on Imagination.

Click into one of these developmental phases to learn how INQUIRY can be successfully manifest in the child’s growth and experience:

Infants to 4yrs         5 to 10yrs                  11 to 14yrs               High School to College