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Simple Rule #10: Exploratory

Nichole Parks, LFC Executive Director, offers a summer invitation on Simple Rule #10: Exploratory —

As we enter the month of June, what are you excited about as you look towards summer?

One of the things I’m excited to do is to explore the community around me with fresh eyes! Oftentimes, when we think of exploring, we envision things that are brand new. And, that is an aspect of it. However, there is new beauty, experiences, and knowledge that can be gained from exploring that which with we’re already familiar in different ways and with renewed expectations.

Recently, I visited a local landmark with my daughter and one of my granddaughters. Admittedly, when they first asked to go, I had the initial thought of, “not again, we’ve been there dozens of times.” Then, I asked myself, “What if you saw this as an explorative learning opportunity? What might you see that you haven’t noticed before? What new flames of excitement and curiosity might you ignite?” Thinking in this way opened my mind to exploring parts of Old Mill that I hadn’t noticed before and resulted in my gaining knowledge of the vegetation growing there.

As we think about Simple Rule #10 this month – creating ‘Exploratory’ learning experiences – I invite you to take a look around and notice things you are curious to explore through fresh eyes.



Jonathan Fribley, LFC Senior Program Leader, offers an opportunity to think about how exploratory learning touches us throughout our lives —

Can you recall exploring as a child? We didn’t even have to go to a faraway place. Maybe we dug in the dirt looking for bugs and worms.  Or maybe when we were a toddler, we banged our shoes together to see what noise they made or to feel the vibration in our feet.

It can be hard to remember what that was like but if we think of a child we know, they can remind us. What does their face and body look like when they are exploring a toy, place, or activity? Can you picture their pose of concentration, curiosity, or delight?

There is so much to find out!

    • How does that object feel?
    • What will happen if I do this?
    • Where does that go?
    • What’s in there?
    • What is my body capable of?
    • What can I get this object to do?
    • How will people react if I do this?

When children feel secure, they just seem wired to explore and learn.  Watch a child with a stick – natural materials seem especially attractive to many children because of the open-ended possibilities like poking, whacking, and digging. They investigate, use their hands, try one way and then another. While they do, they are developing a sense of themselves as capable problem-solvers, and learning as a satisfying, even delightful activity.

How do exploratory learning experiences show up in our adult lives?

Maybe in practical ways like researching budgeting apps and setting up the one that you think will do a better job of managing your finances.

Or perhaps in more fun ways, like trying new dessert recipes or figuring out how to care for a new family pet. Can you call to mind your own curiosity? Your concentration and persistence? Your delight and sense of competence and accomplishment?

We can join children as they explore and learn. We don’t need to know the answers to their curiosities. We can notice and wonder, question and investigate alongside them. We can “spot” them, especially during activities where they are testing what their bodies can do, like running and climbing.

And we can make visible our own exploratory investigations, maybe by inviting them to sit with us as we try out that new cookie recipe or learn about caring for a snake. As one of our learning partners shared:

“Our curiosity helps stimulate others’ curiosity.”