Curiosity > Involvement > Deep-level-learning… and how an experiential approach exploits this wonderous chain of events in practice

Curiosity…, a phenomenon surprisingly evident at the youngest age! A word that speaks to us, eliciting images of babies up to adults, powered by the drive to explore, the disposition to wonder. Curiosity is the source for involvement, the particular state so well defined by Csikszentmihalyi as ‘flow’, equally captured by the concept of engagement. In an Experiential Education framework it is promoted to a status equal to wellbeing, as an absolute condition for deep-level-learning, for schemas to deploy, for the golden thread of imagination to be woven in the fabric of cognition. Involvement depends on curiosity. And the only way to safeguard and strengthen curiosity is…keeping levels of involvement high. This is the best guarantee for lifelong learning.

Carried away by this insight, supported by evidence from research, we describe in this contribution, how involvement serves as a key indicator for quality, as a guide for practice, inspiring us to shape a most powerful learning environment built on a rich offer of materials and activities, an open framework, a positive group climate, and the warm and stimulating engagement of the adults, in partnership with children.

Em. prof. dr. Ferre Laevers is director of the Research Centre for Experiential Education based at the University of Leuven and was co-founder of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA).
Most of his work is linked to the innovative project ‘Experiential Education’ from which he was the founding father, 45 years ago. The emancipatory movement with a commitment to contribute to a better, just, inclusive and prosperous world for all remains his driving force. With well-being and engagement as key indicators for the ‘power’ of the learning environment and deep-level-learning as the pursued outcome, the centre has been and still is inspiring researchers and educators all over the world.


Laevers, F. & Declercq, B (2018) How well-being and involvement fit into the commitment to children’s rights. European Journal of Education 53: 325-335 –