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:

Learning Story Awards(2) Impact(1) Trigonometry(1) Irish guidelines(1) Siolta blog(8) feisty(1) reopening(1) worries(1) movement behaviours(1) Smiles(1) San Miniato(4) EM Standing(1) Craft(1) meals(3) value(1) Family(1) learning(19) Mark Twain(1) Recycling(2) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Meet the Members(1) Limerick(1) healthy eating policies(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Breathing(2) Orla Kenny(1) code of ethics(1) Obesity(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Academics(1) Childcare(3) pets(1) Professionalisation(5) Workplace well-being(1) childcare services(1) Exercise(1) Sweets(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Family wall(1) overhear(1) Interactions(2) Mo Scéal(1) Line-ups(1) Early Years(1) Santa(2) Maths Week Ireland(1) memories(1) Blocks(1) supportive environments(2) Time(1) Reggio(1) Facebook(1) Eritrea(1) Gardening(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Wilenski(1) Early Childhood Ireland(4) Workplace Relations(3) developing motor skills(1) NCCA(3) Mindfulness(2) Ceremony(1) Event Guide(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Pre-School Services(1) Sleep(1) dublin(2) Building Resilience(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Inter-generational(2) trust(4) Penguins(1) NAEYC(1) Party(1) Plastic(1) Routines(2) Advocacy(1) Wrapping paper(1) Children's Research Network(1) Margy Whalley(1) Creative(1) Vertical grouping(1) Scéalta Blog(99) Sport(1) learning bias(1) ECEC Setting(2) STEM(3) UD(1) Whole Group(1) preschool(4) Halloween(2) family time(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Engineering(3) Pobal sector profile(1) Research Seminar(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) responsive relationships(1) Painting(1) Tuscan Approach(2) risky play(2) INTO(1) Infectious diseases(1) Thanks(1) Running(1) Music(3) Environment(2) friendships(1) Creativity(4) Qualifications(1) AsIAm(2) ECCE(7) science week(2) Maternity Leave(1) Covid pandemic(1) Confidence(1) collaboration(1) Weather(1) Rituals(1) CCTV(1) UNCRC(2) pablo(1) story time(2) Love(2) Elders(1) Digital Devices(1) Engagement(1) continual professional development(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Opportunities(1) Design(1) TRAP(1) Lego(2) Kilkenny(1) art of the relationship(1) listen(1) Support(1) staying connected(1) SPICE Framework(1) Human Resources(1) Training(2) EECERA 2016(1) IGL(1) child-centred approach(1) christmas(9) Traditions(2) Titles(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Brain(1) Arithmetic(1) Childhood(1) bloom app(1) Participation(2) World Health Organisation(1) Names(1) Map(1) Yoga(1) School Age Childcare(1) outdoors(3) documentation(4) Deirdre Rogers(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) animals(2) Inter-generational learning(2) National Awards 2018(2) Inspirational(2) Exit interview(1) Sustainability(3) Trauma-Sensitive(1) ReCreate(2) Annual Conference 2017(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Favouritism(1) The Lullaby Book(1) risk assessment(1) Upcycling(1) risk(2) National Holiday(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Positivity(1) youdoodle(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Bereavement(2) Shoes(1) Youtube Series(1) Academic Skills(1) social science(1) early childhood educator(2) Laughter(1) Aistear(122) Aldo Fortunati(4) Japan(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) june29(1) toddlers(3) Empathy(1) Shapes(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Adoption(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Nonverbal(1) scéalta(40) Sculptures(1) Well-Being(9) Feeding(1) research(6) Motor neuron disease(1) Scents(1) respect(5) Montessori(3) Iraq(1) Mental Health(3) Technology(3) Awards 2019(1) PIP(1) Rich Documentation(1) Arts(1) Behaviour(3) Annual Conference 2019(1) role playing(1) Fabric(1) keezy(1) social media(1) Snack Time(1) research submissions(1) reading(5) outdoor play(6) Funding(1) Book Review(1) ERASMUS+(3) Kerry(1) early years learning(1) Loss(1) Relaxation(1) Document Learning(1) Universal Design(2) maternity health(1) The Jelly King(1) children development(1) show and tell(1) DES Inspection(1) Self-regulation(1) Child mental health(1) Prexit(1) Treasure(1) Supernanny(1) Wesco(1) Afghanistan(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Certificate(1) Meal time(1) Leargas(1) European Project(1) lockdown(1) food(1) Thinking(1) Flowers(1) Reggio Children Network(1) grandchild(1) interacting(2) Magic(1) education(2) Snacks(1) Self Help Skills(1) Trade Unions(1) play therapy(1) Kids Own(1) Decisions(1) Games(1) Gratitude(1) Celebrations(4) Awards 2018(3) Independence(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) Touch(1) environments(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) CIT(1) Home Corner(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Covid19 crisis(1) routine(2) Grief(1) apps for children(1) emotions(2) parents(6) Appreciation(1) Iceland(1) development(8) Social Skills(1) New Appointments(1) DCYA(5) Care routines(1) under 3's(3) Art(6) Maynooth University(2) Change(1) play pods(1) Learning Story(1) Culture(2) Book Club(2) Visual Impairment(1) Treasure Chest(1) Potential(1) relationships(17) racism(1) learners(1) Buddies(1) Children and families(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Workforce(1) dining(1) Trick or treat(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Visitors(1) Winter(1) Cork(1) Mayo(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Frustrations(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) communication(4) Investment(2) conference(1) Stress(2) purpose(1) Fee Play(1) Degree(1) Photographs(1) listening(1) life long learning(1) Snakes(1) Body Language(1) RIE philosphy(1) Intention(1) Confident(1) Patterns(1) Biting(1) Interaction(1) Irish(1) educarer(1) play stories(2) Easter(1) Budget 2019(2) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) stories(3) Belonging(3) community(5) Mixed age groups(2) babies(7) Mantra(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) ears(1) planning(1) behavioural science(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) child-centric(1) early life(1) Mealtimes(1) University(1) conversations(1) Child Care(1) GDPR(1) reopening ireland(1) outdoor space(3) Pedagogy(1) Performing(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) AIM(2) Reading Time(1) Storytelling(6) Reggio Emilia(1) Budget 2020(1) Learning Stories Award(3) annual conference(1) TOY Programme(1) Glitter(2) Nutrition(1) play(34) Síolta QAP(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Inspired Practice Awards(1) GoToMeeting app(1) COVID-19 Reopening(1) Light table(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Laugh(1) dogs(1) Sociodramatic play(1) emotional environment(2) Plants(1) Reflective Practice(1) blog(36) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Italy(1) Identity and Belonging(4) MECPI(1) mushrooms(1) Leadership(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Oireachtas(1) First 5(1) Self-Esteem(1) Albert Einstein(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Engineers Week(2) Employee(1) Builders(1) Syria(1) Síolta(120) Our Little Seed(1) SAC(1) Window(1) Xbox(1) eating(1) Sustainable(1) Thank you(1) Identity(5) Hand Hygiene(2) Equality(1) Arlene Forster(1) Exclusion(1) educating(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Seas Suas(1) Masterclass(2) Sequins(1) gender stereotype(1) ICBN(1) Capable(1) Quality(4) Through the looking glass(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Story(1) experience(1) Recycle(1) aistear blog(3) Dance(1) curiosity(3) Your place(1) Communications(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) keep in touch(1) Policy(2) Autism(4) United Nations(1) Community involvement(1) science(3) early years research(2) Administrative Burden(1) RTE Investigates(1) linc(1) Anxiety(2) Horizon 2020(1) bonds(1) Graduation(1) Online(1) National Awards 2019(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) books(4) Maths(5) Children's Rights(3) Decision Making(1) Playdough(1) curriculum(5) Learning Stories(9) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) Teamwork(1) Educators(2) Inclusion(3) Interests(1) Magda Gerber(1) awards 2020(1) Trade union(1) Awards(2) Queues(1) College(1) Wonder(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) MA(1) Sessional service(1) UN(1) Traffic Lights(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Affordability(1) Exploring(1) Challenges(1) gender bias(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Awards Night(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Wendy Lee(3) CPD(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) budget(1) Vietnam(1) Role play(1) imotion(1) Diversity(1) Budget 2018(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Death(2) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Staff Motivation(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) iOS(1) Children's Voice(1) Norway(2) Graduate(1) Mount Everest(1) Study Trip(1) Malaguzzi(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Socioemotional development(1) Maths Week(1) Spiders(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Little Buddies(1) Consent(1) Jenga(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Twitter(1) structure(1) Mathematicians(1) preschool settings(1) code of professional responsibility(1) Giraffe(2) Pobal(1) Early Years Educators(3) E.coli(1) Maria Montessori(1) man up(1) Time Out(1) Summer(1) Cognitive development(1) COVID-19(6) ECEC(3) HR(1) Imagination(3) Primary School(2) Fantasy play(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) First 5 strategy(1) Valentine's Day(3) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Maynooth(1) Settling in(4) Infection Control(1) transitions(10) Inspections(1) Buddy Bench(1) ELC(1) play pod(1) Competent(1) baby room(1) Learning Journal(2) Playschool(1) primary education(1) Mud kitchens(1) Pen green(1) refugees(1) Learning journals(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Performance Management(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Communicating(1) mental health problems(1) phone apps(1) dining experiences(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Digital(1) journey(1) Health(2) Children(4) Care-giving routines(1) Leprechauns(1) Magnavacchi(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Special Needs Assistants(1) Celebrate(1) Drawing(2)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine