I’ve talked a lot before about following my child’s lead and supporting their interests. Here, education is centred around what they’re currently passionate about. And it’s surprising how all the other things (literacy, maths, art, science) fit in so easily and naturally amongst exploring what’s important to them. I really believe this is the easiest and most natural way for us to learn. Imagine my surprise then, when I realised there was one interest that I hadn’t been supporting as much as I could have. And it was so obvious! If you’ve been reading along with my weekly posts you’ve probably seen it popping up almost every week.
For a long time now, my 5 year old daughter has been interested in fairies. A LONG time. Almost every day she’s busy using loose parts to create things ‘for the fairies’.
We read books about them, she draws pictures of them, she writes them notes and leaves them in the fairy door…
She even designed and built them a house.
A part of every day is spent doing something related to fairies. Recently the girls were gifted this beautiful felt fairy house from Nicola at A Charlie Horse toys.
Isn’t it beautiful? The girls have been so taken with it and it is the favourite fairy thing at the moment.
I love unique handmade toys for the girls, and this is the perfect size for little hands to play with.
We even received two little felt fairies and an elf to go with it, which have been much loved.
Watching Miss 5 play and play with it and incorporate it into all of the other things she had been doing, it finally dawned on me (I’m a bit slow!). This is one of her interest areas at the moment! Why had I not realised it before? Is it because it’s something make-believe? Does that make it a less legitimate thing to learn about? And I decided, no, I don’t think it does. This interest is as real to her as anything else. She shows the same amount of passion for it as she does when learning about bees, or bugs, or turtles, etc. This is her interest at the moment and the fact that it’s fairies does not make it any less real to her.
I was going to go on to explain how through playing and learning about fairies she is also learning a lot of other things. How maths, literacy, science, history, and art also make an appearance in her play. But, then I decided that wasn’t the point. It doesn’t matter. Her interests don’t need to be evaluated by me or anyone else to be deemed valid. The point is that I want her to know that I support her, I value her ideas, and realise the importance of this to her.
So, here’s to being more aware of what’s important to them. To supporting all interests, traditional or make-believe. To always trusting them!
Do your children have any interests at the moment that would be considered less important in mainstream education? How do you support them?