When you spend time with children, really listening to them and interacting with them, you learn new things about them every day. Of course you hear about what their favorite colors are, what they want to eat, and which superheroes they want to be like. What I'm thinking about right now is the deeper, more important stuff, like how they think, what motivates them, and what they really care about.
If you have children of your own, you know what I'm talking about. It's knowing a child as a person, in the way that your know your own family. It's a learning journey, sometimes fun, sometimes difficult, but never, ever dull. It is one of the privileges of teaching young children; to be involved in the processes that shape who they are and who they will come to be.
Right now I have two 4 year old girls who spend almost every moment outside looking for roly pollies. They know a lot about them, through daily observation. They know where to look (moist places, like under fallen leaves and around the base of plants), and they've noticed there is another critter that looks like a roly poly, but moves much faster and has a flatter body. You can learn more about different kinds of isopods here and here.
Did you know female isopods (roly pollies) have brood pouches to carry their eggs and embryos? I didn't - until the children discovered a mommy pillbug with her babies!
The mommy of one of my students calls me "The Toddler Whisperer," because the kiddos listen to me. I have a secret I'll share with you. I think it's because I'm interested in the things the children care about, and love to look carefully and deeply at our world, just as they do. (These photos were all taken in our backyard as the children and I closely observed the animals we share our play space with.)
One more thing. It's also because I listen to the children, and respect their ideas and thoughts that they want to listen to mine.