Sunday, March 28, 2010

a pause in nature after a busy morning at preschool

It really should have been a recipe for disaster. 

Nine boisterous boys and over an hour of unstructured free play.

After a morning of challenges and high temperatures we took off for the creek.

We took the big trucks with us.

And some plastic tubing.

But instead of disaster it was a lovely oasis of calm.  Busy, but focused and engaged.

And then we all trooped back to preschool and settled into a more peaceful afternoon.

Heading out into nature isn't a magic solution to all problems, but if Thursday was anything to go by it definitely has rejuvenating qualities for teachers and children alike.

(I feel the need to add that this creek is only ankle deep!)


  1. We want a creek! And we want rocks and logs! And we want unfenced bush land right next door! And we want to venture out in it on a whim! And we want only nine boisterous boys on a Thursday morning! And we want an hour of unstructured free play in the beautiful Australian bush, in an ankle deep creek playing with trucks and eating when we're hungry and .... ahhh! ... Don't know about Sherry but I'm feeling rejuvenated just imagining it all!

    Thanks Jenny ... very relaxing indeed!

    Donna :)

  2. I'd send you down a creek and logs and bush if I could :) I know how lucky we are.

    Oh, and we do have more than 9 kids on a Thursday - we just took the 9 in most need of a little oasis of calm!

    We are also lucky to have more staff than regs require, so we can have 2 teachers leave the preschool with a small group, while the others stay behind at preschool. When we have our bushwalking days we add to that with parent helper/walkers so we can take out more kids at one time.

    You can come visit if I can come visit your hush garden :)

  3. i can't think of a better experience for a child. seriously.

    we have a calf deep creek near our home that my own kids spend hours in...much like these boys.

    but my preschool world has never had it.

    maybe a field trip is in order.

  4. p.s. a silly "detail" question: do the children have extra clothes at school? do you set boundaries on how wet they "should" get?

  5. I'm like S&D, I want it, although I suspect that even if we could have it our stupid insurance company would ban it. That's why we can't even have a wading pool or a small trampoline!

    These pictures remind me so much of playing in creeks as a boy, getting wet and muddy, finding tadpoles, building dams. It was calming . . .

  6. Okay Jenny you're on! You are most welcome any time you like ... and we would LOVE to come visit you some time.

    And Tom ... not even a TRAMPOLINE? Then I think you'd better come visit too!

  7. What a fabulous way to spend time with young kids. It's such a shame more children aren't getting these kinds of experiences...

  8. Thanks for the comments everyone. And yes Kristin, all our kids bring in spare clothes (more than one set if they have been coming along for a while!).

    We do have boundaries regarding the water, but not so much about getting wet. We don't allow kids splashing each other. Because the water is so shallow only the bottom part of shorts and skirts are likely to get wet, and it is so hot at the moment that they are dry before we get back to preschool.

    We also keep a chest of drawers with loads of spare preschool clothes - once the kids have been with us for a while they become old hands at helping themselves.

    In winter it might be a different story - I'll let you know!

  9. What a wonderful way to spend the morning!! If only we could all spend our days like that!!! I am glad you have access to such wonders!!

  10. Now, if I were dreaming up my perfect, ideal preschool, I'm not sure I would even dream a situation quite as marvelous as that. Ahh...thank you for the new dream. I know a few grown-ups (including me) who could use a splash in ankle-deep creek water to calm down....

  11. It bothers me so much that many of our rules arriving from fear of litigation stop children learning to take risks in an acceptable way. If we ban everything that could possibly result in wet clothes or scraped skin, we will end up with a generation of kids who don't self-protect. So reading about this delightful experience makes me very happy. If only more kids had access to such creative fun.

  12. Very NICE blog, thanks for sharing :)

  13. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I really do feel lucky to have found a teaching position in such a wonderful preschool. It's an early childhood teacher's dream - especially an early childhood teacher with a big interest in progressive education :) I think that working in a progressive parent managed school makes a big difference to our teaching, because we know that if our practices reflect the founding values of the school we are supported in what we do.

    One of our core values is that we utilise the resources of our bush environment - and what better way than playing with trucks in the bush :)