In hopes of escaping the cold heavy rain, I take my group to ride bikes on the back deck. What I had not predicted was that the eaves trough was leaking right over the children’s bike path.
Rowan can’t resist riding directly under the drips while laughing: “A waterfall!”
Initially, I worried about how cold (and potentially miserable) Rowan would get, but I stop myself from interfering and give him an encouraging smile. It doesn’t take long for his joyful experience to attract friends to try this out as well.
“We’re getting soaked and wet!” They boast.
Quinn waits patiently to have the waterfall to himself. I am guessing that he is pleased to experience it under the protection of the car hood.
COOPERATIVE UNSPOKEN AGREEMENT
Apart from the occasional “U-turn”, the children intuitively organize themselves in an orderly fashion. They line up one way, pause under the water flow, ride towards the end of the deck and then turn around to do it all over again from the opposite direction.
BRAVING THE ELEMENTS
“I’m cold! I want to go inside!” Rowan complains, but feels comforted when a new jacket is offered to him. He returns back and initiates a new exploration: drinking from the waterfall!
Like his friends, Eoin makes the best use of his protective hood against the cold water but now he tastes the waterfall full on. He soon becomes distressed: “I got water in my eyes! I got water in my eyes!” he yells while walking away and rubbing his eyes. His discomfort is short-lived and Eoin eagerly returns for more.
FINDING A DIFFERENT WAY
Not all of the children feel like daring the cold shower. Isadora and Liv are willing to experience the waterfall under their cozy clothing. They hesitate to go further until they witness their friends using their hands to catch the water to drink. This appeals to both girls and they join in with everyone.
GOING WITH THE FLOW
In order to respect children’s spontaneous explorations, early childhood educators must be willing to be reflective and question the reasoning why they do or do not support the children’s ideas? Is it safe? Is this appropriate? Is it inclusive? Or is the activity not encouraged because it can be “inconvenient” to the teachers?
To promote exploration and creativity, adults provide an environment where young children can:
Explore the world using their bodies and all their senses.
Develop a sense of wonder for natural environment
Express a zest for living and learning (Early Learning Framework p.33)