Honouring Their Interests
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?
The beautiful felt fairy house the girls are playing with is from A Charlie Horse toys. They also stock many other beautiful quality toys and educational resources.
Oh my goodness! I love all your posts but this one resonated in a different way because my children, too, are obsessed with fairies at the moment! We just made fairies out of clothespins and fairy doors for their bedrooms, and our yard is filled with their fairy houses from the past year 🙂 Enjoy!
Oh that sounds so fun!!
Wow, I love the fairy stadium! It looks so beautiful.
I was wondering – I really like the idea of letting kids play with loose parts so they can use their imagination. How did you encourage your kids to play with them? Or did you just set them out one day and they decided to use them? 🙂
PS. I think fairies are a totally legitimate interest! 😉
Hi Bee! I have them available all the time with the blocks and they just use them whenever they like. You can see in my block post here: https://happinessishereblog.com/2014/09/encouraging-block-play-with-girls/
I hope that’s helpful! 🙂
Ah, ok! It’s cool to read that they are so creative with them :). Thanks!
Not sure where you are, but a few of the botanic gardens (the ones in Sydney and Melbourne) have fairy trails on at the moment – you go around various points and you can ‘see’ fairies through your ipad (or other device). My daughter really enjoyed it. She also likes the Tinkerbell movies, and I think they’re pretty good, as the idea is that Tinkerbell’s talent is ‘tinkering’ – making and fixing things – which is great.
Oh wow thank you Carolyn! We will be in Sydney at Christmas!
Fairies and princesses play a big part in every day play for my kids. I have often wondered who it was who decided that reading and maths should be given the most emphasis in mainstream education. For me this post brings to mind that famous Einstein quote “If you want your kids to be clever, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more clever, read them more fairy tales”.
Love that quote! Totally agree.
I love this and it’s so very true.
I just need to figure out how to integrate literacy and numeracy with lego mini figures and superheroes!
I know Kate’s son is very into both too!! Have a look here: http://www.aneverydaystory.com/2014/09/04/writing-books/ 🙂
I have five girls so fairies feature quite a bit in my life 🙂 What a beautiful fairy house! And the little fairy dolls have such wonderful character!
They’re gorgeous aren’t they!
Pretend play is so important for all aspects of learning, especially language! What a great interest to explore and expand!
This a beautiful book with lots of fairy lore:
Yes! That is actually the book we have been reading! I have had it since I was young!
You MUST check out a book called “Forest Fairy Crafts” by Lenka Vodicka-Paredes. So beautiful, and perfect for your daughters age. My six year old loved it last year.
Oh thank you! Just having a look. Does look beautiful!
My little girl (only 3) is completely obsessed with her teddy (baby). Today she spent some of her pennies to buy a yo-yo for baby for Christmas, then she wrapped it once we got home and she put it under the tree. She even had a go at writing baby a Christmas card. Having read your great post I now sense lots of opportunities for incorporating teddy into all sorts of other activities.
Oh that is so sweet!
Have you heard of Herb Fairies? Check out their website. I’m sure your girls would love them!
Ooh thanks, I will do that!
My 3 yr old gets a lot of things from his older brother, almost 8. He likes video games but doesn’t play too much and my 3 yo really got obsessed with Mario kart. Watching him play and the. Wanting to play and act it out. I don’t know why but it’s really an obsession. I’m not sure how to support this bcs I don’t see a lot of learning or opportunities in pretending to drive and throw things at other cars… Any advice?
Love your blog by the way 🙂
Hi Kion, I wouldn’t worry about it really! He’s so little. And just because we can’t see the learning or relate to it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. And some types of learning are not more important than others. He’s learning problem solving, motor skills, recognising words, bonding with his brother, and much more! 🙂
Thank you! That’s just the reassurance I needed. Much love <3
I am also guilty! This reminds me that my 6 year old daughter has shown great interest in sewing to create stuffed cats. When she was a young 5 year old, she made one all on her own with some stuffing that she came across and some threads that she wrapped around it freehandedly. She named her cat Yarny. Since I am not as interested in sewing, my plan is to have her grandmother make some cats with her. My mom even has a sewing machine to give to her.