Curiosity plays a key part in maker culture. Being a maker means, taking things apart, putting things together, rethinking how and why things work. This mentality helps fosters an atmosphere of innovation, creativity and a do-it-yourself attitude. Curiosity is instilled in our values and mission. We want our staff and kids to constantly question and problem-solve. Curiosity definitely isn’t just for kids, but for everyone. It helps you improve, grow and stay engaged.
Many start-ups and entrepreneurs express this characteristic. They can use their minds to look past the present and imagine many futures and outcomes. They are movers and shakers and, like us, have a bias for action.
Here’s how we cultivate curiosity throughout MakerKids:
- Open communication and constant brainstorming
Four-year olds ask 300 questions a day on average. That number drops to almost zero when they become teens. We establish a norm for communicating, questioning and speaking up, from setting up formal brainstorming and feedback sessions to many opportunities for informal communication. We’ve set up many communication channels to allow various means for people to engage. We work in teams and leverage collective power. Two heads are better than one. This creates a diversity of ideas and a trusting environment for students and staff.
- It is okay to fail
We encourage people to try, experiment and learn through experience. Greatest learnings occur when there is failure and constantly expanding your range of comfort. Curiosity, innovation and risk go hand in hand. The fear of failure can hinder growth. We do want people to take reasonable and well thought out risks. Sometimes a few mistakes are worth that one big breakthrough. Try rewarding curious behaviour and removing punishment for failure.
- Embracing the new
We are continuously looking to improve our classes and workshops. We look to new technologies and methodologies for inspiration. When staff or students have an idea, we are all ears as well. Our Maker Mentors may contribute to lessons and lead their own innovative workshops. They are professional makers and creators (ex. engineers and designers), and we are always scanning the landscape to see what is new.
Play is important for the development of creativity and gets your brain thinking. Unfortunately, as we get older, opportunities and interest in play decrease. Play helps open up new narratives and perspectives. We have an inspiration station in our makerspace filled new with games, toys and gadgets for our students to explore during breaks.
- Extracurriculars and learning
We offer our staff a fund dedicated to their growth and learning. They can use this for classes and workshops that will help them grow, from improv to conferences. Similarly, kids need extracurricular activities to expose them to new topics, discover passions and interests and develop curiosity. Often extracurricular activities can improve performance at school and in the home.
Cultivating curiosity throughout MakerKids has helped up shape new classes, embrace leading-edge technologies and foster a strong, happy, participatory team! Remember to lead by example. Our teachers are champions for curiosity and kids are invited to try, experiment and question equally.