When parents support their children’s interests with toys, talks, and trips to the library and museum, they and their children can build what Kevin Crowley has termed a shared island of expertise. Parents and children can talk in ever more sophisticated ways about that interest. Parents can explain—and children understand—on deeper levels, at least when they are exploring on their shared island of expertise.
Here are some papers about Islands of Expertise by Kevin Crowley and his associates:
Crowley, K., & Jacobs, M. (2002). Building islands of expertise in everyday family activity. In G. Leinhardt & K. Crowley & K. Knutson (Eds.), Learning conversations in museums (pp. 333-356). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Palmquist, S.D. & Crowley, K. (2007). From teachers to testers: Parents’ role in child expertise development in informal settings. Science Education, 91(5), 712-732.
Palmquist, S. D., & Crowley, K. (2007). Studying dinosaur learning on an island of expertise. In R. Goldman & R. Pea & B. Barron & S. Derry (Eds.), Video Research in the Learning Sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.