I would describe curiosity as an expression or form of valuing knowledge. "Value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep." Acting to acquire knowledge is a form of acting to gain and/or keep something. That makes the object of the action -- knowledge -- a de facto value to one who acts to gain and/or keep it.
But: "Is it the result of recognizing the value of knowledge in one's life?" Not necessarily. One may or may not comprehend that acting to gain and/or keep something is a form of valuing it, and one may or may not comprehend the connection between knowledge and living.
Objectivism's concept of a "valuer" is new and unique in philosophy, as far as I know. Even plants have "values" in the sense that there are definite requirements for their survival, and their actions are goal-directed toward obtaining those elements, yet they act entirely without consciousness (as it applies to animals), and the "goal-directedness" of their actions does not imply that they are conscious. They do not choose their goals; they only pursue them. Only man can form the explicit concept of a "value" (or any other concept), and only after he reaches the conceptual stage of cognitive development.