I agree with you, Elizabeth, that the inquiry journey starts in primary school. I think that’s when we start building an inquiry stance by fostering a sense of wonder about the world, as well as what the children are learning in school. I know that most primary school teachers encourage and honor their students’ questions and curiosities, but I have been thinking about how the teachers might build an inquiry stance from that questioning. I think adding two factors to their teaching responses to questioning would transform ad hoc questioning into inquiry:
giving students time and resources to find answers to their questions so that the focus shifts from blurting out miscellaneous questions to following up on questions that really matter to the students and giving them the chance to learn something new (perhaps by setting aside a short inquiry time every Friday, for example, when students can pursue answers to their questions and write or draw pictures in their inquiry journals); and
helping the students recognize the joy of their own thinking by asking followup questions that cause students to think about their own thinking (“What made you ask that question?” “What do you think the answer will be?” “Do you have other questions about this same topic?”).
I think most primary teachers naturally incorporate class discussions throughout the day, while they are reading stories, having a share-circle time, or teaching new content in social studies and science. They could naturally blend in the two strategies above to those interactive sessions and I think the students will be well on their way to developing an inquiry stance.