Our role as educators is to listen to the children, engage with them, ask questions and speculate and wonder with them. We aim to foster children's curiosity through exploring, experimenting and discovering together, supporting and enhancing enquiry-based learning. Often this takes place by simply focussing attention on the small things - and sharing the children's ideas and knowledge.
Earlier this week, the children noticed some snails in our garden, in amongst the strawberry patch, and they collected them in a container. They took the snails over to a wooden plank and observed them moving as they re-emerged from their shells.
Girl: :"Cheeky snails! They were in our garden trying to eat our strawberries! You know, this boy snail can even eat the green ones and never even get a tummy-ache!"
Through the conversation, the children referred to the snails as boys and girls and I asked them how they knew which snails were boys or which were girls?
Boy: "Well, if they have little shells, they are a boy. If they have big shells, they are a mum."
Girl: "No, the boy snails are the really, really slimey ones, and the girls are not, and see this one here, this is a grandma snail."
I asked how she knew it was a grandma snail. Her reply: "You know it's a grandma because it has white bits on it."
I also learnt through our conversation that you "can pat snails, they are very soft, but you can't smack them, 'cos they get squashed!"
One child observed that the snails looked like they were having a race along the board.
Girl: "I wonder which one is the fastest and will be the winner?"
Boy: "No, they are both racing together and both will be winners - see, they both won!"
It is so refreshing to stop and sit with young children and really listen in to and extend their conversations. It is absolutely delightful to be part of these special moments in time - seeing the world through their eyes!