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:

Art(6) ReCreate(2) Drawing(2) Maynooth University(1) Lego(2) Craft(1) Little Buddies(1) Norway(2) educarer(1) Snakes(1) ECCE(6) Grief(1) Celebrate(1) Arithmetic(1) Visual Impairment(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Sustainability(3) Flowers(1) PIP(1) Laughter(1) feisty(1) Trigonometry(1) Map(1) Environment(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Fantasy play(1) Decision Making(1) Sweets(1) Glitter(2) The Jelly King(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) dining(1) Early Years(1) Afghanistan(1) Budget 2019(2) Xbox(1) Magnavacchi(1) Wesco(1) Child mental health(1) Favouritism(1) Diversity(1) Early Years Educators(1) Feeding(1) Eritrea(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) UNCRC(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Síolta QAP(1) Thinking(1) parents(5) Prexit(1) Playdough(1) friendships(1) Arts(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Painting(1) Supernanny(1) Mathematicians(1) Treasure Chest(1) Routines(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Titles(1) UD(1) planning(1) Technology(2) Family(1) CIT(1) Trade Unions(1) Horizon 2020(1) Builders(1) Design(1) Universal Design(2) United Nations(1) ears(1) Plants(1) Breathing(2) Potential(1) Primary School(2) Aistear(103) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Learning Story(1) Visitors(1) Music(3) Inspired Practice Award(5) Touch(1) Time(1) risky play(2) Mayo(1) Albert Einstein(1) curiosity(3) Death(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Performing(1) maternity health(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) Wrapping paper(1) supportive environments(1) Impact(1) linc(1) Iraq(1) Event Guide(1) babies(6) Deirdre Rogers(1) Treasure(1) Mud kitchens(1) Patterns(1) Easter(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Exploring(1) Self Help Skills(1) Identity(4) Our Little Seed(1) Book Club(2) Mixed age groups(2) Socioemotional development(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) communication(4) Challenges(1) Workforce(1) Kids Own(1) Jenga(1) AsIAm(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Mental Health(3) early years research(1) Santa(2) Cork(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Penguins(1) Spiders(1) transitions(9) Special Needs Assistants(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Maynooth(1) Community involvement(1) curriculum(5) STEM(2) Italy(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Giraffe(2) play stories(1) Anxiety(2) Affordability(1) Magic(1) Autism(3) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Decisions(1) EM Standing(1) Ceremony(1) NCCA(2) St. Patrick's Day(1) Maria Montessori(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) ECEC(1) overhear(1) Capable(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Interaction(1) National Awards 2019(1) Employee(1) Nuturing interactions(1) outdoor play(6) Interactions(1) Time Out(1) Pobal(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Kilkenny(1) Shoes(1) blog(28) worries(1) Syria(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Brain(1) Orla Kenny(1) Seas Suas(1) Positivity(1) Health(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Children's Rights(1) refugees(1) GDPR(1) Twitter(1) UN(1) AIM(2) Wendy Lee(2) Traffic Lights(1) bonds(1) outdoor space(3) Valentine's Day(3) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) relationships(12) listening(1) Upcycling(1) Gardening(1) Inclusion(3) Sequins(1) child-centred approach(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) environments(1) Role play(1) Snack Time(1) Blocks(1) Care-giving routines(1) Buddy Bench(1) Identity and Belonging(3) Shapes(1) trust(2) Settling in(2) Advocacy(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Engineering Ireland(1) meals(3) Celebrations(4) Culture(2) Biting(1) SPICE Framework(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Buddies(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Síolta(98) Mealtimes(1) First 5(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Independence(1) Learning Stories(7) Certificate(1) Research Conference 2019(1) San Miniato(4) pets(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Childcare(2) Thanks(1) Self-Esteem(1) Graduation(1) Communications(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Meal time(1) Window(1) risk(2) First 5 strategy(1) Meet the Members(1) Maths Week(1) Sport(1) Sociodramatic play(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) learning(15) Thank you(1) Recycle(1) Names(1) Performance Management(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Through the looking glass(1) food(1) Vertical grouping(1) respect(4) InspireMe.ie(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Photographs(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Research Seminar(1) Party(1) DCYA(4) Self-regulation(1) EECERA 2016(1) Exercise(1) Vietnam(1) Limerick(1) Learning Stories Award(3) toddlers(3) Japan(1) Exclusion(1) Inspirational(2) Body Language(1) outdoors(3) Maths Week Ireland(1) Administrative Burden(1) Teamwork(1) Awards(2) Rituals(1) Irish(1) Family wall(1) ICBN(1) Mount Everest(1) Care routines(1) Sculptures(1) Exit interview(1) Creative(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Appreciation(1) Obesity(1) educating(1) College(1) NAEYC(1) Leargas(1) Playschool(1) Cognitive development(1) Imagination(3) Masterclass(2) Access and Inclusion Model(2) MA(1) experience(1) Reggio(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Winter(1) Kerry(1) Facebook(1) Home Corner(1) Behaviour(3) documentation(2) Running(1) education(2) Workplace Relations(3) Learning journals(1) research(5) Academics(1) story time(1) Investment(1) Nutrition(1) Maternity Leave(1) role playing(1) Sustainable(1) routine(2) Engineering(2) Graduate(1) Interests(1) Awards 2019(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Budget 2018(1) stories(2) emotional environment(1) interacting(2) National Pyjama Day(1) Online(1) memories(1) Bereavement(1) Ariana Pucci(1) under 3's(3) risk assessment(1) Trade union(1) Mo Scéal(1) Montessori(2) books(4) Inter-generational(1) Funding(1) Malaguzzi(1) Storytelling(2) Loss(1) RIE philosphy(1) Yoga(1) Training(2) scéalta(25) San Minia(1) Degree(1) emotions(2) MECPI(1) Snacks(1) dublin(2) Policy(2) Mindfulness(2) Weather(1) Communicating(1) Games(1) Mark Twain(1) science(3) Early Learning and Care(1) Light table(1) Margy Whalley(1) Maths(4) Scéalta Blog(78) listen(1) Smiles(1) Laugh(1) Children's Research Network(1) preschool(2) Halloween(2) dogs(1) Workplace well-being(1) Story(1) mushrooms(1) budget(1) National Awards 2018(2) University(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Love(2) science week(2) Professionalisation(4) Traditions(2) journey(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Frustrations(1) Wilenski(1) Siolta blog(2) Educators(1) Scents(1) ERASMUS+(3) Relaxation(1) Mantra(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Quality(3) IGL(1) Stress(2) Fabric(1) Magda Gerber(1) baby room(1) Childhood(1) Creativity(4) Social Skills(1) Recycling(2) animals(2) conversations(1) Consent(1) dining experiences(1) Line-ups(1) Plastic(1) Engineers Week(2) eating(1) social media(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Nonverbal(1) Competent(1) development(8) Confident(1) grandchild(1) National Holiday(1) play(29) Oireachtas(1) Adoption(1) Queues(1) early childhood educator(1) Academic Skills(1) Dance(1) christmas(8) Belonging(3) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Well-Being(6) Gratitude(1) reading(4) Change(1) TOY Programme(1) Qualifications(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Empathy(1) Pen green(1) Children(1) CPD(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Trick or treat(1) Awards 2018(3) community(5) Leprechauns(1) Wonder(1) INTO(1) Arlene Forster(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine