Inquiry-based learning: asking questions

Strong Start Child Early Care and Education is dedicated to an early childhood education that is inquiry-based because we believe that learning from the inside-out creates life-long learners that are successful problem solvers and are emotionally secure.


Some education methods see children merely as sponges to take in information that will be used later, around the age of ten, for critical thinking and analysis. Inquiry-based learning turns that model on its head because inquiry-based learning is child-centered, not information-centered. We’ll discuss this topic at length in future blogs in this series, so will just present a brief introduction this week.


Meeting a child where he or she is developmentally is the surest way to encourage and promote a lifetime of intellectual curiosity. The journey begins with the child’s own interests, be that insects and airplanes or fairy houses and dinosaurs. Forcing a child to learn what they don’t want to can be counterproductive. Children need to learn that their intrinsic urge to learn is rewarded. Studies show that intrinsic motivation is a far better indicator of success that being able to to respond to extrinsic motivation. We’ll be sure to come back to this topic in the future as well.


The first step in inquiry-based learning is to let the ask questions. Some children will have to be prompted at first. We have to teach them to put their ‘wonderings’ into words. The questions can be simple. ‘How does it work?” “How does it move?” “How do we know that?” But the process of finding the answers teaches them how to learn. We’ll go through the next steps in future blogs. Be sure to check back and in the meantime call and set up a tour of our early care and education center.