Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

X Marks the Spot: Following Children’s Interests


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:

Tuscan Approach(2) Independence(1) Sequins(1) Iraq(1) Maths Week(1) PIP(1) early years research(2) CCTV(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Graduate(1) Affordability(1) Thanks(1) School Age Childcare(1) Intention(1) continual professional development(1) Pobal(1) staying connected(1) books(4) Arlene Forster(1) Magic(1) Children and families(1) Easter(1) Academics(1) Quality(4) Fee Play(1) early years learning(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Challenges(1) aistear blog(3) Plastic(1) role playing(1) conversations(1) Fantasy play(1) UN(1) Study Trip(1) Builders(1) Empathy(1) code of ethics(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Relaxation(1) preschool(4) Feeding(1) Queues(1) Reggio(1) Staff Motivation(1) Meet the Members(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Learning Story Awards(2) Belonging(3) Online(1) Buddies(1) Photographs(1) Italy(1) TOY Programme(1) Leprechauns(1) Children's Research Network(1) Recycling(2) documentation(4) Time Out(1) San Miniato(4) General Data Protection Regulation(1) ECEC Setting(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) Line-ups(1) Anxiety(2) Children(4) Socioemotional development(1) Positivity(1) Little Buddies(1) Appreciation(1) National Holiday(1) blog(29) Family wall(1) Event Guide(1) friendships(1) HR(1) linc(1) keep in touch(1) Awards 2018(3) United Nations(1) purpose(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Patterns(1) Biting(1) Music(3) Awards(2) Interaction(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) childcare services(1) Magnavacchi(1) First 5(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Kids Own(1) Performance Management(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Culture(2) Maternity Leave(1) meals(3) Family(1) Celebrate(1) STEM(3) Names(1) Budget 2019(2) experience(1) ECCE(7) Playdough(1) Creativity(4) Time(1) Storytelling(6) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Early Years(1) youdoodle(1) Loss(1) UNCRC(2) UD(1) Síolta(111) Trade union(1) Child Care(1) Autism(4) curriculum(5) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Cork(1) apps for children(1) Síolta QAP(1) TRAP(1) listen(1) Snacks(1) Thank you(1) Ariana Pucci(1) man up(1) Jenga(1) Support(1) Early Years Educators(3) Stress(2) College(1) Upcycling(1) Winter(1) National Awards 2018(2) Death(2) E.coli(1) Research Conference 2019(1) play therapy(1) Participation(2) Inclusion(3) Thinking(1) Dance(1) food(1) Graduation(1) show and tell(1) DCYA(4) Well-Being(9) Workplace well-being(1) life long learning(1) Trigonometry(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) gender stereotype(1) MA(1) Degree(1) Mixed age groups(2) family time(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) baby room(1) Traffic Lights(1) Digital Devices(1) Book Club(2) Running(1) Sustainable(1) EECERA 2016(1) social media(1) Reading Time(1) learners(1) Sculptures(1) Painting(1) under 3's(3) Valerie Gaynor(1) trust(4) Confident(1) code of professional responsibility(1) gender bias(1) educarer(1) Valentine's Day(3) child-centred approach(1) phone apps(1) Window(1) babies(7) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Mo Scéal(1) Nonverbal(1) National Awards 2019(1) Seas Suas(1) Diversity(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) early life(1) budget(1) Building Resilience(1) Opportunities(1) respect(5) Wilenski(1) Laughter(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Prexit(1) Research Seminar(1) Margy Whalley(1) Mayo(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Map(1) Research and Professional Learning(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Mark Twain(1) Games(1) interacting(2) Impact(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Whole Group(1) risk(2) Shoes(1) memories(1) ears(1) Montessori(3) Siolta blog(8) Adoption(1) Japan(1) Academic Skills(1) Recycle(1) dining experiences(1) Childcare(3) christmas(9) Sustainability(3) Investment(2) Exit interview(1) Frustrations(1) Administrative Burden(1) Snakes(1) Exploring(1) Environment(2) Wendy Lee(3) Hand Hygiene(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Through the looking glass(1) education(2) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) stories(3) Sport(1) Care-giving routines(1) Sweets(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Creative(1) relationships(17) European Project(1) collaboration(1) Afghanistan(1) healthy eating policies(1) Reflective Practice(1) Maynooth University(2) Kilkenny(1) risky play(2) science(3) Grief(1) annual conference(1) environments(1) IGL(1) Giraffe(2) Professionalisation(5) play(34) iOS(1) Scéalta Blog(98) Party(1) Irish(1) Primary School(2) Exercise(1) primary education(1) Imagination(3) Emergent Curriculum(1) Masterclass(2) Consent(1) Wrapping paper(1) Sociodramatic play(1) movement behaviours(1) grandchild(1) Self-regulation(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Brain(1) DES Inspection(1) Laugh(1) feisty(1) Lego(2) Human Resources(1) Flowers(1) communication(4) Wonder(1) research submissions(1) Decisions(1) Budget 2020(1) ERASMUS+(3) Vertical grouping(1) imotion(1) Leadership(1) Mealtimes(1) Snack Time(1) Youtube Series(1) Arts(1) Treasure Chest(1) Digital(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) Body Language(1) Gratitude(1) Treasure(1) Weather(1) parents(6) Supernanny(1) Gardening(1) Spiders(1) Summer(1) refugees(1) Awards Night(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Drawing(2) animals(2) Aistear(118) Identity(5) risk assessment(1) Pobal sector profile(1) journey(1) Shapes(1) Covid pandemic(1) Syria(1) Favouritism(1) Decision Making(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Mud kitchens(1) Breathing(2) Together Old and Young Programme(1) planning(1) art of the relationship(1) pets(1) learning bias(1) Educators(2) Celebrations(4) Playschool(1) Story(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) INTO(1) ReCreate(2) Settling in(4) emotions(2) Yoga(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) worries(1) Employee(1) curiosity(3) Horizon 2020(1) Advocacy(1) Engineers Week(2) ECEC(2) Buddy Bench(1) Mental Health(3) Mathematicians(1) reading(5) Interactions(2) value(1) bloom app(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Leargas(1) Health(2) Childhood(1) maternity health(1) structure(1) University(1) Design(1) Meal time(1) GDPR(1) Pre-School Services(1) community(5) research(6) learning(19) bonds(1) GoToMeeting app(1) Interests(1) Trade Unions(1) ICBN(1) Learning journals(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) development(8) Child mental health(1) Love(2) Sleep(1) Cognitive development(1) science week(2) Mantra(1) New Appointments(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Mindfulness(2) Maynooth(1) Vietnam(1) Facebook(1) Titles(1) Learning Journal(2) Communicating(1) Learning Stories(9) scéalta(32) supportive environments(2) Eritrea(1) Fabric(1) First 5 strategy(1) emotional environment(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Technology(3) Malaguzzi(1) pablo(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Craft(1) Inspections(1) Workforce(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) CIT(1) social science(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Learning Stories Award(3) Twitter(1) Role play(1) transitions(10) Infectious diseases(1) Limerick(1) Document Learning(1) Behaviour(3) Covid19 crisis(1) Glitter(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Inspirational(2) Self Help Skills(1) Light table(1) early childhood educator(2) Oireachtas(1) Mount Everest(1) Orla Kenny(1) routine(2) Rich Documentation(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Art(6) Identity and Belonging(4) dogs(1) EM Standing(1) Engineering(3) Maths(5) Magda Gerber(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Book Review(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Home Corner(1) Communications(1) play stories(2) Wesco(1) RTE Investigates(1) Engagement(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Workplace Relations(3) Early Childhood Ireland(1) Visual Impairment(1) Touch(1) Santa(2) Traditions(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Competent(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Qualifications(1) Bereavement(2) outdoors(3) CPD(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Obesity(1) dining(1) Super Shed Stories(2) story time(2) National Pyjama Day(1) Maria Montessori(1) NAEYC(1) Xbox(1) Plants(1) behavioural science(1) awards 2020(1) Pen green(1) Confidence(1) MECPI(1) mushrooms(1) Community involvement(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Funding(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Scents(1) AsIAm(2) listening(1) toddlers(3) Performing(1) Potential(1) conference(1) Ceremony(1) keezy(1) overhear(1) Budget 2018(1) AIM(2) Learning Story(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Social Skills(1) eating(1) Albert Einstein(1) The Jelly King(1) Children's Rights(3) Exclusion(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Christmas Creativity(2) children development(1) Nutrition(1) Elders(1) Visitors(1) Care routines(1) dublin(2) Our Little Seed(1) Penguins(1) NCCA(3) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) developing motor skills(1) Change(1) Smiles(1) Universal Design(2) Aldo Fortunati(4) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Trick or treat(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Policy(2) outdoor play(6) Liz Kerrins(1) Sessional service(1) Blocks(1) Capable(1) Certificate(1) Training(2) Infection Control(1) RIE philosphy(1) Self-Esteem(1) educating(1) Iceland(1) COVID-19(4) Kerry(1) preschool settings(1) SPICE Framework(1) Inter-generational(2) Rituals(1) Teamwork(1) Routines(2) Halloween(2) Awards 2019(1) Arithmetic(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) outdoor space(3) Norway(2) Leaders in Practice(1) Children's Voice(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine