Why not knowing the answer is important.
Children are curious about their world and love to ask questions. In Cycle 1 these questions often begin with “what”? As children grow their questions become more sophisticated often starting with “how” or “why”.
As an adult, the temptation is to provide the answer but it is often not in children’s best interests to do so. Research shows that the most effective learning takes place through active participation. Children need to develop both the inquiry skills and dispositions necessary to allow them to become confident independent learners, such as resilience, persistence, organisation, and time management.
When children ask us questions, Montessori teachers will often reply, “That’s an interesting question. I wonder how we could find out?” Sometimes children will immediately set to work researching the question. At other times, the teacher will need to provide an introductory lesson often telling a story or using materials. This lesson is designed to grab the children’s attention and awaken their curiosity, but it is just a starting point and teachers are careful to ensure that the lesson leads to children asking more questions.