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Following Childrens Interests


Guest terrydoo73
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Guest terrydoo73

We are in the process of having an independent consultant helping us with planning and observation. One of the things which we haven't received full training on yet is this following childrens interests. Now how exactly does this work. One child comes in and has a book of the latest tractor models, then another talks about volcanos none stop and a third child goes on about her pet dog. Now if we follow spontaneous planning do we put out something to cater for all these particular interests at one time? What happens when you have say 12 children all having an interest in different things how do you cater for it - am thinking of the problem with say a fire engine, a farm set, a dolls house all in the small world area at one time and the room is limited at the best of times?

 

The child with a book of the latest tractor models was showing an interest in this at the start of the session then when he was near the water tray he noticed our water picture showing keys that could sink and we were just wondering where do you draw the line in terms of having so many things attracting just one child?

 

Sorry for being so thick about it but I just want to know how this works in practice??

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Guest sn0wdr0p

We follow every individual interest however if we had a child in more than one day a week we would not necessarily put something out for them every day linked to their interest but if we had a child only attend one session then his interest would be followed. Fortunately we find that many of the children share similar interests so its usually not so hectic. It's dinosaurs at the moment and we find that many of the children become engrossed in another childs interest/topic such as this.

 

It can be a bit of a nightmare. We have 40 children attending and none of them are full time with some only attending a 2 hour creche session once a week so keeping track is difficult .

 

We try to spread out their interests around the different areas so for example one day they may be making dinosaur models in the creative area, playing with dinosaurs in small world another, making a dinosaur world in the digging pit outside another so not too many things are going on in one area of provision.

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I find it a bit difficult too! it goes a bit like this....after doing some obs;

We have a few children addicted to diggers/ tractors, some to fairys, 1 who goes and collects everyones bags off the coat pegs, another with an enveloping schema and one that likes circles and spinning.

So.....we are having a 'loose' topic on seasons/ celebrations.... so there are dinosaurs in the box of leaves that need to be moved around with the diggers/ tractors ( in the tuff spot), but dont wake the fairys who need the leaves for bedcovers and wrapping up with scraps of cloth and wool ( because its a bit chilly in autumn), with some little boxes (round ikea ones different sizes and colours ) to hide in and enough leaves etc to fill a couple of old handbags ( tipping and filling and carrying around). we can then use the leaves,( nice round rolling down some tubes) conkers, seedheads, that we have collected outside for counting, matching, over to the painting table for printing etc. food for dinosaurs, threading to make a mobile and dresses and wings for the pipecleaner fairys etc.etc.

 

I hope i'm on the right track anyhow!

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I find it a bit difficult too! it goes a bit like this....after doing some obs;

We have a few children addicted to diggers/ tractors, some to fairys, 1 who goes and collects everyones bags off the coat pegs, another with an enveloping schema and one that likes circles and spinning.

So.....we are having a loose topic on seasons/ celebrations.... so there are dinosaurs in the box of leaves that need to be moved around with the diggers/ tractors ( in the tuff spot), but dont wake the fairys who need the leaves for bedcovers and wrapping up with scraps of cloth and wool ( because its a bit chilly in autumn), with some little boxes (round ikea ones different sizes and colours ) to hide in and enough leaves etc to fill a couple of old handbags ( tipping and filling and carrying around). we can then use the leaves,( nice round rolling down some tubes) conkers, seedheads, that we have collected outside for counting, matching, over to the painting table for printing etc. food for dinosaurs, threading to make a mobile and dresses and wings for the pipecleaner fairys etc.etc.

 

I hope i'm on the right track anyhow!

Hey Conker, A good example of catering for individual interest....IMO anyway. Its what we do too although we also have a sharted interest book too for the things that fascinate a group of children....we document this Reggio style on displays for parents, children, visitors, etc. to look at and share!!

Edited by Guest
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Hey Conker, basically we collect observations of groups of children who are engaged in the same theme or who are engaged in a particular area of interest(for example area of interest - 'the dark', theme 'construction') we use photographs, children's voices(anotated by adults), mark making by child if they do any, samples of work(if it can be saved) collected during and after their engagement, we document somethings in the book and others on displays if its related to an area of continuous provision or sometimes outside the room where the children and parents pass daily. From the annotations, photos, etc. we decide were we think the children's thought processes are leading them in their learing and how we can support/extend this through enhancements, adult involvement, etc. we provide the enhancements and watch what happens, its a continuous cycle with the adult facilitating learning but not directing/leading offering questions and directing children to where they could find the answers. Its great for the children as we document it in stages which gives the children opportunity to reflect on their experience.....throwing up a whole new set of questions.

 

So basically a Project(topic if your old school) but completely led by the children while being facilitated by adults through enhancements and adult involvement.......some last a few weeks others last over a month. There's lots of info on the net about the project approach from Reggio i'd love to actually get some solid training in it as i'm flying by the seat of my pants at the moment....it fascinates me though so if anyone knows of any Reggio training please let me know.....i'm saving for Italy i have £0 so far :huh: definitely starting to save after Christmas lol

 

Sorry if its not explained well but you can find examples on the internet by searching documenting children's learning :1b

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On the one level we cater for group's of children's interests much the same as above. On another level individual children's interests are also catered for from observations and helping them to move forward in their learning we would use their interest, for argument's sake in dinosaurs, to plan activities using dinosaurs, so count them, identify them, make a dinosaur museum, dinosaur jigsaws, - obviously this is done over a period of time because embedded interests last for much longer than passing ones!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry apple....it wasn't maintained while i was away so have to start again....will post pics when we have begun documenting again.......its settling in time at the moment which equals insanity :huh: but there is a great website with examples here ;)

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Guest terrydoo73

OK so I have sent out a questionnaire to all parents asking for different things like what there child likes to watch on tv, any favourite toys they are into, books they like to look at again and again. Now I have gathered these all up what do I do next? There are only a few overlaps on some of the things and I just wondered - do I provide what and where? How do I go about following these interests fully?

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Sometimes it is a simple as providing the types of stories in your library, about the same characters you have been told they like. If you choose an interest that overlaps with others this could be a starting point of thinking about what you can do in each of the areas to suit individual children's needs.and learning styles, so you may be able to have boxes and card, paper, string etc. ready in the art trolley for those who like to make things, let's suppose there is a common interest in animals, they might like to make masks, or have books about animals to find out facts about them, others may like to have a zoo area for small world play, if some prefer to role-play they could be vets, or zoo keepers etc. look at what you want them to learn from their needs, then think about the areas of learning and how you can provide activities for those areas with the an animal theme in mind, make them (animals, not the children!), draw them, count them, look at their patterns.

 

At our group at the moment, we have one boy interested in dinosaurs - so we find we can help him understand all kinds of things each session he comes through this medium, he generally likes to start the morning by drawing a dinosaur - so we have his mark making skills to start with which we can help him with. He likes to have dinosaur small world area to go off to - that's easy enough to do and some of the other children like to use that as well. We can see how his expressive language is coming along when we observe him in that area. if he was into dressing up I have a number of dinosaur costumes I could bring in for him. He likes to do puzzles, so we generally have one or two about for him. He doesn't exclusively only play with dinosaurs, but it helps us to know his interest in these so that we can engage him quickly when we want to move his learning along. We add a dinosaur counting song into our songtime too for him.

 

it's not easy working with lots of different interests at one time. My key persons know what their children's passions are and they ensure that when they want to engage them in deeper understanding of skills they will use their passions to do so. My own key group - one is interested in trains, one is interested in babies, one in home corner cooking, one Octonauts slugs and snails, another likes anything he can take apart and put back together again. They are quite a disparate group, they don't all like singing, they don't all like puzzles, they don't all like painting or drawing, Some how we manage to do something each day which they each love to do.

 

There was a sheet on here the other day which we sort of use, at the centre of the page is the childs name and a list of their interests, surrounding this are boxes for each of the learning areas, in each box you could think of writing something which, using a child's interests/needs you could engage them with. It's very good for focusing yourself on one child. This particular sheet also had space for parent's views, key persons views etc, but i can't recall who put it on at the moment.

Edited by Panders
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  • 7 months later...

What an interesting post and Jules2382 this sounds exactly what I am trying to achieve!

I would be VERY grateful for any planning formats or photos of your displays?

 

Pretty please :)

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Hi all. I'd just like to say that we plan for children's interests and also parental concerns. At the moment the children are interested in castles/princesses and kings etc... and there have been a couple of parents raising concerns about road safety so we are addressing that too!!

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