Naomi said, "There's no water."
It's been dry and hot here for a couple weeks, putting a strain on our rain barrel which has, up until now, been our exclusive source of water for the garden. Last week, Naomi, then others, were confused to find it bone dry. This had never happened before. We knew we needed to water the plants, but how?
After a brief consultation we decided that we would refill the rain barrel, but without rain in the offing, it would require a bucket brigade to carry water from the cast iron pump located in the sand pit, all the way at the other end of our outdoor classroom.
I've written about our cast iron pump before. This is the low-tech, low-cost rig I've finally cobbled together for making it a permanent part of our play.
We've installed it in the corner of the sand pit, with the cistern sunk about halfway into the sand and the hose buried along the wall where it connects to the spigot for easy refilling.
The kids had installed that length of house gutter, resting the end on a log making a "waterfall" . . .
. . . . but also making it easy to refill large buckets as long as you had someone to help with the pumping.
Our bucket brigade went into full swing, involving as many as a dozen kids tracking back and forth from the pump to the rain barrel where we'd set up a step ladder so the kids could pour their liquid gold into the top. It was an impressive cooperative effort until one of our 2-year-olds decided she wanted to do it all by herself. She set her bucket on the ground at the bottom of the waterfall, then insisted on doing her own pumping.
She pumped and pumped and pumped, until her bucket was overflowing. We all called to her, "It's full! It's full!" But when she tried to pick it up, the bucket wouldn't budge. Several of us were milling around, awaiting our turn to fill buckets, Suriya impatiently in position at the pump handle ready to get back into action, but try as she might the bucket was too heavy.
I said, "She needs help," and without further ado, this is what happened:
They took the long way around . . .
. . . weaving between obstacles . . .
. . . working together to get that heavy bucket to its destination.
Okay, I can now retire a satisfied teacher. If this is all that happens in preschool, we've done what we're here to do.