Curiosity is often given great importance in early childhood and is included in educational and curricular standards, such as those developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and American Association for the Advancement of Science. It is also discussed in federal legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act. Teachers choose it as one of the top five skills or traits children need for school success and place it above counting ability and letter awareness as predictive of school readiness.

Despite this perceived importance and the unchallenged belief that curiosity is critically important for learning and motivation, little is known about curiosity in early childhood education. This lack of understanding is perhaps due to the difficulty in defining curiosity and the ...

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