The Curiosity Programme
The Curiosity Programme is a strategy used to help teach individuals to develop the skill of curiosity, form positive relationships with others and to learn to engage with a wider range of stimuli.
Pupils will start by exploring something they enjoy, for example, glitter. The teacher, will put glitter in a tuff tray, and explore the stimuli with the learner. Teachers must be alongside the learner and engaging with the learner’s interests. They are sharing the good times together, whilst using the principles of Intensive Interaction (teacher responding to the learner’s actions and vocalisations). For example, if the learner sprinkles some glitter, the teacher will also pick up some glitter and sprinkle it and vocalise ‘wow!’ Joining in and validating the pupil’s actions.
Next time, the teacher will present the stimuli in a container, so that the learner has to start thinking more deeply, developing the skill of object permanence, and curiosity. The teacher will put the tray out, but instead of having the glitter already loose in there, the glitter will be in a very easily obtainable container e.g., in a little open draw string bag. The teacher will model picking up the bag, and seeing the glitter fall out. As the learner develops their curiosity, the teacher will gradually put the glitter in containers that require more steps to access, or where what’s inside them is less noticeable. Perhaps next, the glitter will be in a transparent container that the learner has to lift the lid off of, and then perhaps in an opaque container.
The Curiosity Programme encourages you, to add singing, and rhythm in to your play and exploration. For example, when exploring the glitter, the teacher may make up a simple repetitive song to encourage exploration and engagement from the learner. Rhythm and movement have been found to be important both before and after speech develops. Using rhythm and songs in your play, helps to develop timing to communicate. It helps the learner to know when their turn is, and where sounds and words go.
The programme is designed to support children who are not quite ready to attend to the Attention Autism Strategy, which may be for a variety of reasons, such as being at a very early level in their development of attention, or do not yet have the tolerances for group working. Through building relationships between teachers and learners, this promotes the child’s development further, as it suggests that communication and social interaction flourishes when activities are shared, and interaction is reciprocal and motivating for all.
The strategy aims to create curiosity about the world, nurture communication and foster interaction through shared joyful times together and the teaching of shared attention.
Like Attention Autism, it is a nice starter activity for a lesson as it introduces the learner to their environment and connects the learner to their teacher through the practicing of shared attention and the teacher following the Intensive Interaction guidelines. The programme can be delivered daily to pupils; and is taught to staff during the induction process, under the umbrella of Attention Autism.