Early curiosity can boost maths, reading skills in young kids

New York: Let your child be curious for learning new things as it may help him or her to grasp basic math and improve reading skills from an early age, a new study led by an Indian-origin researcher suggests.

Curiosity in young children was defined as a trait for the joy of discovery, and the motivation to seek answers to the unknown.

But, the current early learning interventions just focus on improving a child’s effortful control which includes their ability to concentrate or control impulses, the researchers rued.

The findings, published in the journal Pediatric Research, suggest that even if a child manifests low effort control, high curiosity can lead to higher academic achievement.

This is why children who have developed a wide range of socio-emotional skills such as invention, imagination, persistence, attentiveness to tasks, as well as the ability to form relationships and manage feelings, are generally more successful when they start school, the researchers said.

“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,” said lead author Prachi Shah, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

For children from poorer communities, curiosity is even more important for higher academic achievement, because it can help them close the achievement gap associated with poverty, the researchers added.

For the study, the reading and math skills and behaviour of 6,200 children in kindergarten were measured.

Their parents were interviewed during home visits and the children were assessed when they were nine-months and two-years-old, and again when they entered pre-school and kindergarten.

“Our results suggest that after controlling for other factors associated with higher achievement, curiosity continues to make a small but meaningful contribution to academic achievement,” Shah explained.

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