I had the pleasure of being asked by Jonathan Mugan if I would give his new book The Curiosity Cycle a read and possibly a review on this blog. I was glad to oblige, any book that deals with children’s curiosity was something I am willing to take a look at. I’m not sure if I would have come across Jonathan’s book in my regular travels, but I am certainly glad I had the opportunity to read it. First off, this is not an education exclusive book by a long shot. In fact, many teachers I know would intuitively teach in many of the ways Mugan describes in the book. Teachers are innovative individuals, and curiosity is at the heart of what many excellent teachers do.
One of the greatest traits of The Curiosity Cycle is that it is written in an accessible manner for parents. In fact, the main audience is parents, and how to inspire a lifelong learner in your own home. By knowing how curiosity works, a parent can ‘tune in’ to the way a child’s mind works and guide him or her to fill in knowledge gaps and extend their curiosity forward. This is an excellent image to keep in mind when interacting with children; and if you do, it quickly becomes apparent how spot-on Mugan’s perspective is.
While I’d never really thought of curiosity as a cycle of filling in unknowns, Mugan does an excellent job of finding concrete examples of how this happens in a young mind. This process of leading the reader through examples and then analysis of the cycle, shows the depth to which Mugan has obviously analyzed and thoughtfully presented the concept of creating and testing mental theories, developing new ones and filling in the gaps of knowledge. This is where his book becomes a great resource for teachers, because as you consider in your learning plans how a child’s mind may be inspired to learn more and seek completion of the theory they are working with, you may find your lessons become more engaging and focused on the inquiry of the students. At least I found mine did.
I am so happy that Jonathan reached out to me, and I feel I am that much better of a father and teacher for reading his book. I realize the summer reading times are behind us now, but The Curiosity Cycle is a quick and easy read, one that I fully recommend.