Wednesday, March 03, 2010

"We Did Teamwork And Pumped The Water"

The Pre-3 class got their first crack at our new playground yesterday. The sand pit was easily the biggest draw, and not just at the beginning of our outdoor play time. The fact that we've relocated out water play to the sand pit probably had a lot to do with it.

It will probably evolve, but while we no longer have the amazing contraption for flowing our water . . .

. . . we still have the cast iron pump and muck bucket . . .

. . . but now with just a single length of gutter that drains into the sand. In spite of that diminished capability, we kept the water flowing pretty much continuously, raced lots of boats down it, and stirred up plenty of sandy concoctions.

Getting the water play out of the garden entirely, seemed to really transform the place in a positive way, giving the gardeners a lot more room to sink their primroses and pansies without the ever-present threat of having water dumped on their backs. And once the rain barrel is full again, we'll have a convenient water-source for filling our watering cans.

The 2's were much more likely than their 3-5 counterparts the day before to simply plop down in the new coffee bean "pea gravel" and treat it as a tactile and olfactory sensory experience. This may be a function of their development, but it could also just be that the less crowded garden made it possible. I'm eager to see if we see more of this kind of play today when the 3-5's return.

Little World and our construction materials were virtually untouched.

And again, just as happened with the 3-5's on Monday, the adults noticed that the children played much more quietly than they have previously. I'll be listening to see if this is just a response to something new or if our re-design has somehow motivated an new approach to outdoor play.

When I arrived home, I found the following comment on yesterday's post from Charlie M.'s mom Elizabeth: 

From Charlie today after school: "Mama, my friend Connor and I pump, pump, pumped the water down the slide and watched the boats. I have a C in my name and Connor has a C in his name and because of that, we did teamwork and pumped the water."
In the afternoon, when I met with the Pre-K class, one of their "assignments" was to write about or draw a picture of something else they would like us to have in our new playground. There was a lot of excitement about Josephine's idea of building a castle, which feeds very nicely into our intent to use one or both of our new construction-area "floors" . . .

. . . as a structure of some sort. If I have long enough nails in my garage, we'll get started on it today. Otherwise it will have to wait until after a trip to the hardware store.

Bookmark and Share


Launa Hall said...

Fascinating. I am loving watching this outdoor space experiment develop. Thank you for the updates! Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

I'm a fellow NW Wash teacher and have been checking out your blog for awhile - so jealous of your outdoor work!
Thanks for being out there - you are a great link to add to my blog. Keep up the great work.

Deborah Stewart said...

Charlie's comment is priceless! I think each area will be used in time - the children will start to expand and explore but in their own time. I wouldn't be in a rush to change something because it isn't seeing much use too soon (you may not be anyway:) but let them think about it for a bit.

kristin said...

i can only imagine the sheer joy this must bring.

it's fabulous.

Unknown said...

That little Connor is brilliant, isn't he?

Domestic CEO said...

As I read about your playground transformation, my brain is trying to figure out how we could do something like that at my school. I would LOVE to have the outdoor water play. How do you handle the kids getting all muddy? I don't mean their hands and such, I know those can just be washed off, but what about their clothes. Do you just go with the idea that most kids will need to change into a new set of clothes when they head inside? Or do they wear some special outerwear to prevent this?