Why the smartest children are those who ask ‘why?’: Youngsters who constantly ask such questions are more likely to perform better at school
- Children who constantly ask questions should be encouraged, say researchers
- A study of 6,200 pre-school children found the most inquisitive were focused
- They also achieved better results in reading and in maths tests
It is the simple word that drives many parents mad – ‘Why?’
But children who constantly ask such questions should be encouraged, researchers say, as those who appear curious in conversation are more likely to perform better at school.
The study of 6,200 pre-school children found the most inquisitive were more focused in class and achieved better results in reading and maths tests.
And while children from less privileged backgrounds tended to fare worse at school overall, the most curious in this group performed just as well as their better-off peers, according to researchers.
Children who constantly ask questions such as ‘why?’ should be encouraged, researchers say
Lead author Dr Prachi Shah, of the University of Michigan, said: ‘Promoting curiosity in children, especially those from environments of economic disadvantage, may be an important, under-recognised way to address the achievement gap.
‘The association of curiosity with academic achievement is greater in children with low socioeconomic status.’
The researchers sent questionnaires to parents of 6,200 children, who commented on their youngsters’ level of curiosity at nine months, two years and around five – when they started school. Those children who showed the highest degree of curiosity tended to do better in early school tests, they found.
There is some evidence curiosity is more coveted in wealthier children, which may help them out-perform less privileged pupils, the study said. It appears in journal Pediatric Research.
The study of 6,200 pre-school children found the most inquisitive were more focused in class and achieved better results in reading and maths tests
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