Although my years of working with young children are over, I fortunately have friends who spend their days with children and keep me happy by sharing little anecdotes.
My friend Christine was making the rounds of her nursery and stopped by three and a half-year-old Rani, who was playing alone at the Sand and Water Table. Rani exclaimed, "Miss, water likes purple better than green!" "Really?" Christine asked, "Why do you think so?" Rani replied, "Because it always goes into the purple bucket!" Christine did not dispute the point but quietly observed for a little and then moved on to other children. When Christine returned ten minutes later, Rani said, "Miss, actually water just likes to go down!"
My friend was glad she’d allowed Rani to lead her own experiments and arrive at her own theories – which will continue to evolve through trial and error. Christine instinctively shares Froebel’s feeling that "To have discovered a quarter of the answer to his own question is of more value to the child than to hear the whole answer, half-understood, from another."
Christine’s supportive interest – along with the space, time, and equipment she provides – give Rani and her friends the opportunity to follow their curiosity. And they in turn give her something very special – glimpses into a child’s mind.