The children were all seated on the mat ready for the session to be begin. It was the first early years workshop of the year and the theme was “nocturnal animals”. Ben and Sophie sat in front of the group, ready with stories, games and objects to help the young ones explore the different animals that are only awake at night time.
“So who can tell me what this is?” Sophie asked, holding up a puppet.
“Bat!” shouted one of the children.
“Very good!” smiled Sophie as she placed the puppet back in the box.
“What about this one?” she asked again. This time a moment of silence before anyone felt brave enough to answer.
One child put their hand up and Ben nodded encouragingly.
“Badger?” the child asked.
“That’s exactly right, well done!” Sophie replied.
As Sophie looked through the box for her next puppet one of the children shouted, unprovoked.
The child was pointing at an empty space towards the front of the building. Ben and Sophie looked at each other, slightly confused.
“Do you mean Firefly?” Ben asked, moving towards the stuffed fox that sat on one of the displays.
“No!” shouted the child, “Fox!”, getting up and moving towards the empty space beyond the display. They proceeded to pat the air, as if stroking an animal.
Suddenly, the child reached forward as if the invisible animal had rushed away and they were trying to keep a hold of it. They began to cry.
Everyone else in the group agreed, there had been no fox that they could see. So what had the child been petting?