Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

X Marks the Spot: Following Children’s Interests

By: MAIRE CORBETT

Tuesday 28 February 2017

I was in a sessional preschool setting the other day. There was lots of talk about our senses. Children and educators shared ideas about seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. There were 3 small group activities for children to choose from, one of which involved Skittles and water, so children could discuss what they saw, in greater detail.

Some of you may have seen this ‘experiment’ before? I hadn’t, but was fascinated, as much by the conversations as the actual activity! Here’s what happened.

The children and early years educator arranged the sweets in a pattern on a white plate. On one plate the sweets were in a circle and on the other an X shape was formed. Water was then poured (by oTreasure chest with jewels - X Marks the Spot: Following Children’s Interestsne of the children) over the colourful sweets. As this was happening one boy said

‘X marks the spot’. The adult asked him what that meant and he said

‘Treasure! Buried treasure!’

‘Mmmmm…what is treasure’, the educator asked, reflectively.

 ‘It’s gold and jewels’ responded the little boy.

By then, patterns were emerging on the plate, so the conversation moved on to the colours, shapes and interesting things that were happening to these hard, colourful pieces of sugar. There was even a conversation wondering if the taste of the sweets changed by being soaked in water. And this idea was tested too! Lots of lovely words were used and the children really enjoyed seeing change happen right before their eyes.

When we spoke afterwards the educators and I discussed the potential to return to the idea of treasure that this boy was interested in. We talked about the possibility of chatting the next day about treasure. Maybe adding a treasure map to the role play space, maybe bringing in (and asking parents to contribute) some costume jewellery in a ‘treasure chest’, maybe burying some treasure in the sand tray or sand pit, leaving out paper, clipboards and pencils so children can make their own maps.         

Map with x marks the spot - X Marks the Spot: Following Children’s Interests

Child's drawing of a map on a clipboard - X Marks the Spot: Following Children’s Interests

Having added these few items to the environment stand back; and observe what happens? What conversations take place, what further suggestions do the children make? What stories and thoughts do the children explore? I can’t wait to see this learning story…and it would be a lovely tale for the children to contribute to the Early Childhood Ireland Book Club!

And then again…. the moment for treasure may have passed and other interests may be more engaging to the children…this is what makes our job fun!

Please do tell us your stories of noticing children’s interests and how you respond!

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Jillian van Turnhout(1) CPD(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Wesco(1) Autism(3) Special Needs Assistants(1) Photographs(1) learning(15) Decisions(1) Workforce(1) Craft(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(2) Feeding(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Queues(1) Facebook(1) dublin(2) Bereavement(1) Ceremony(1) Rituals(1) educarer(1) National Holiday(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Inter-generational(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Sculptures(1) Community involvement(1) Drawing(2) Whole Group(1) Sweets(1) research(6) Diversity(1) under 3's(3) baby room(1) Communicating(1) eating(1) interacting(2) Routines(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Challenges(1) Smiles(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Jenga(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Siolta blog(2) Window(1) Favouritism(1) Celebrate(1) Fantasy play(1) Care-giving routines(1) risky play(2) Thank you(1) Síolta(104) Growing up Outdoors(1) Children's Research Network(1) Arlene Forster(1) ERASMUS+(3) Laugh(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Certificate(1) Awards(2) First 5 strategy(1) pets(1) Workplace well-being(2) Reggio Emilia(1) Light table(1) Kilkenny(1) Confident(1) Qualifications(1) Iraq(1) Magnavacchi(1) Meet the Members(1) National Awards 2019(1) Albert Einstein(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Eritrea(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) NAEYC(1) Time(1) listen(1) Team work(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Summer(1) Scents(1) Snacks(1) Sustainable(1) relationships(15) journey(1) science(3) Self-Esteem(1) Exit interview(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Buddy Bench(1) Running(1) Child mental health(1) curriculum(5) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) risk(2) scéalta(26) Magda Gerber(1) dining experiences(1) bonds(1) outdoors(3) curiosity(3) First 5(1) Treasure Chest(1) Behaviour(3) Party(1) toddlers(3) Breathing(2) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Spiders(1) Leargas(1) Titles(1) Reggio(1) Wrapping paper(1) Mayo(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) development(8) Leadership(1) EM Standing(1) blog(28) Investment(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Staff Motivation(1) Universal Design(2) Online(1) Educators(1) Trade union(1) Learning Story(1) Exercise(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) child-centred approach(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Norway(2) HR(1) Lego(2) Painting(1) Supernanny(1) Capable(1) Laughter(1) CIT(1) Syria(1) Interests(1) Exploring(1) GDPR(1) Visitors(1) play stories(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) ReCreate(2) RTE Investigates(1) UNCRC(1) Valentine's Day(3) Budget 2018(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) stories(2) preschool(2) AsIAm(1) feisty(1) Orla Kenny(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Afghanistan(1) Giraffe(2) christmas(8) Meal time(1) Mud kitchens(1) Professionalisation(4) dining(1) Sleep(1) Event Guide(1) grandchild(1) Primary School(2) San Miniato(4) Iceland(1) Maths(4) UN(1) communication(4) Funding(1) Snakes(1) Self Help Skills(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Little Buddies(1) ECEC(1) Wilenski(1) Anxiety(2) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Xbox(1) Sport(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Biting(1) Vertical grouping(1) listening(1) Playdough(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) ECCE(6) Playschool(1) Potential(1) Line-ups(1) Stress(2) Mindfulness(2) Aistear(108) routine(2) Games(1) Performance Management(1) STEM(2) Magic(1) maternity health(1) InspireMe.ie(1) EECERA 2016(1) Plants(1) Maternity Leave(1) Penguins(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) books(4) conversations(1) Intention(1) Mount Everest(1) Quality(4) Reflective Practice(1) Settling in(4) memories(1) Margy Whalley(1) budget(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Maths Week(1) Affordability(1) Music(3) Health(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Thanks(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Human Resources(1) College(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) early years research(1) Traditions(2) Engagement(1) Children's Rights(1) Pen green(1) UD(1) Síolta QAP(1) Design(1) Wonder(1) outdoor space(3) Sequins(1) TRAP(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) SPICE Framework(1) community(5) Plastic(1) Loss(1) Research Seminar(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Italy(1) Easter(1) Scéalta Blog(84) United Nations(1) Cognitive development(1) Early Years(1) San Minia(1) Upcycling(1) outdoor play(6) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Independence(1) Adoption(1) dogs(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Engineers Week(2) Recycling(2) Communications(1) education(2) Degree(1) Academics(1) science week(2) Irish(1) Positivity(1) Social Skills(1) Santa(2) Mental Health(3) Well-Being(7) CCTV(1) Maynooth University(1) Shoes(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Seas Suas(1) Storytelling(2) food(1) Brain(1) Competent(1) Role play(1) Winter(1) Change(1) Identity(5) planning(1) purpose(1) Weather(1) Horizon 2020(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Thinking(1) NCCA(2) Inclusion(3) Confidence(1) Family(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) meals(3) refugees(1) Patterns(1) Gratitude(1) value(1) IGL(1) Family wall(1) Engineering(2) supportive environments(2) Obesity(1) Socioemotional development(1) Teamwork(1) Twitter(1) Creativity(4) Annual Conference 2017(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Training(3) Inter-generational learning(1) risk assessment(1) Administrative Burden(1) ICBN(1) Mark Twain(1) parents(5) early childhood educator(1) Pobal(1) Self-regulation(1) TOY Programme(1) Cork(1) Workplace Relations(3) Dance(1) Childhood(1) Empathy(1) respect(5) Glitter(2) Fabric(1) mushrooms(1) Gardening(1) Imagination(3) Identity and Belonging(4) Awards 2019(1) Children(1) INTO(1) MA(1) Builders(1) Mo Scéal(1) Snack Time(1) RIE philosphy(1) MECPI(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Map(1) Arts(1) Book Club(2) Treasure(1) Story(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Blocks(1) Impact(1) Budget 2019(2) Graduation(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Trick or treat(1) experience(1) role playing(1) play(30) Consent(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Early Years Educators(2) Emergent Curriculum(1) Graduate(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Art(6) Interactions(2) Through the looking glass(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Maynooth(1) educating(1) Celebrations(4) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Technology(2) Childcare(2) Visual Impairment(1) Yoga(1) Wendy Lee(2) Performing(1) Leprechauns(1) Policy(2) linc(1) Touch(1) documentation(2) Learning journals(1) Body Language(1) Advocacy(1) Learning Stories(7) Support(1) Mantra(1) Culture(2) Our Little Seed(1) Inspirational(2) Time Out(1) story time(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Grief(1) Japan(1) Appreciation(1) Trade Unions(1) Creative(1) Frustrations(1) Love(2) Mathematicians(1) University(1) environments(1) Sustainability(3) Early Learning and Care(1) The Jelly King(1) ears(1) Environment(2) Vietnam(1) Awards 2018(3) Recycle(1) friendships(1) Montessori(2) Academic Skills(1) Employee(1) Interaction(1) Relaxation(1) social media(1) Trigonometry(1) Care routines(1) Prexit(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Halloween(2) PIP(1) Flowers(1) Oireachtas(1) transitions(10) trust(3) Participation(1) overhear(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Mealtimes(1) Limerick(1) AIM(2) Nonverbal(1) European Project(1) Home Corner(1) Shapes(1) Kerry(1) emotional environment(1) Belonging(3) DCYA(4) Death(1) collaboration(1) National Awards 2018(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) worries(1) Kids Own(1) Masterclass(2) Buddies(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Names(1) Leaders in Practice(1) reading(4) emotions(2) Malaguzzi(1) Exclusion(1) Arithmetic(1) Traffic Lights(1) Study Trip(1) New Appointments(1) Mixed age groups(2) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Nutrition(1) Maria Montessori(1) animals(2) babies(7) St. Patrick's Day(1) Decision Making(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine