Of blog posts, olives and anchovies

I greatly appreciate, that despite my neglect, many people continue to access this blog and read a range of posts. I hope that this is because the word is slowly spreading in the early childhood community—and beyond—that there are some useful ideas and provocations here for teachers (and perhaps researchers too).

To reorientate you, this blog is about the concept of “working theories”, an innovative learning outcome in the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki,  that captures the ways children might make sense of their experiences and grow their knowledge and understandings. Throughout, I have referred to the definition that Sarah Jones and I developed:

“Working theories are present from childhood to adulthood. They represent the tentative, evolving ideas and understandings formulated by children (and adults) as they participate in the life of their families, communities, and cultures and engage with others to think, ponder, wonder, and make sense of the world in order to participate more effectively within it. Working theories are the result of cognitive inquiry, developed as children theorise about the world and their experiences. They are also the ongoing means of further cognitive development, because children are able to use their existing (albeit limited) understandings to create a framework for making sense of new experiences and ideas. (p. 36)”

Here’s an opportunity to consider that notion and definition. What kinds of prior ideas, experiences and knowledge might children have brought to the food tasting experiences shared in the following video? The slow motion recording helps us to see their embodied reactions. Observation is such an important skill for teachers to practise when young children cannot express their thinking. In this case it helps is to analyse the kinds of working theories they might be testing out and revising as they explore these tastes and textures…

Do you remember the first time you tasted an olive? Or an anchovy? A new video captures those moments.



Hedges, H., & Jones, S. (2012). Children’s working theories: The neglected sibling of Te Whāriki’s learning outcomes. Early Childhood Folio, 16(1), 34-39. http://www.nzcer.org.nz/search/site/early%20childhood%20folio