{PBH} Identifying Interests

My daughter was very direct in saying she wanted to learn about mummies (and I do have more to show you on that project), but I’d observed her interest in maps and, in fact, jotted that down as a possible project topic before she informed me she’d be studying mummies. As you saw, her map-making interest found its way into her mummy project (her 3-dimensional map of Egypt in this post). I think–but am not sure–that we may be winding down on Egypt here. Meanwhile, my daughter has been drawing maps.

Map by G, age 3

Her maps are of her pretend park; she has been playing a “park game” with our blue rug as a pond and the play tent as her camp site.

Map by G, age 3

(I can’t help it–I adore the trees.) I think this interest in map-making is quite common at this age; at least, all my children have drawn make-believe maps. Because this interest of hers has been present for a while now, I am doing my own research at the moment, seeking ways to encourage and support it. To start, I borrowed Mapmaking With Children by David Sobel from the local university library. I’ve requested a couple of children’s books relating to maps from our local library, to simply have around and share. I’ve only just begun reading the Sobel book, but it’s fascinating. I’ll keep you posted!

So how and why am I focusing on her interest in maps? After all, she has told me she wants to learn about space, dinosaurs, fish, the sun…really, she has jumped on this “project” idea and wants to take advantage of it! And she has not told me she wants to learn about maps. However, maps is what she does. She draws them, she looks at them, she asks about them. It’s where she is quietly focused–her attention is already there, and that’s why I feel it’s a deeper interest that can support deeper investigation. I am watching what she does, rather than just listening to what she says. When presented with the whole wide world to learn about, she’s listing everything in sight, and no wonder. It’s all so interesting. But I want to brush away the surface and see where she places her focus. That’s the best I can do in explaining how to identify an interest that will support a deeper project.

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4 Responses to {PBH} Identifying Interests

  1. Michelle says:

    Neither of my girls ever had much interest in drawing maps . . . oh, but they could stare at them all day long! Harper keeps pointing out RI to everyone this week. :)

    I love how you’re focusing in on what she already shows interest in. It makes so much sense. We’re drawing maps for our stories today, and I can’t wait to see what the 4 yr old comes up with!

  2. Lori says:

    “[S]he has not told me she wants to learn about maps. However, maps is what she does.” — and this is why it’s so important to listen and observe, so you can help children articulate interests they can’t put into words yet.

    “When presented with the whole wide world to learn about, she’s listing everything in sight, and no wonder. It’s all so interesting. But I want to brush away the surface and see where she places her focus. That’s the best I can do in explaining how to identify an interest that will support a deeper project.” — everything you’ve said here is perfect!

    and i LOVE her trees! :D

    • amy says:

      Yay, those trees! I secretly think she’s a genius. ;)

      If only it were as easy with my son…I have a feeling he will join right on in with maps, if that’s what we do next, and right now I’m okay with them joining in on each other’s projects because they are different ages and will focus on different things. My son is still getting used to this new definition of “project.”

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