Water play is an essential component of a quality Early Years program, offering interesting and dynamic opportunities for learning and interacting. At ICS, we feel strongly it is important to provide children with rich outdoor sensory experiences, in addition to those offered by the conventional classroom water table. Some may be tempted to peek out the window and view today’s rain and wind as a deterrent to the great outdoors. It was inspiring to look at the three years olds in Rebecca Smith’s class, who clearly recognise the possibilities of a rainy morning. Children develop problem solving skills as they explore concepts like floating and sinking as they build understandings about how and why thing happen.
Some wise person once said, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”. We are fortunate that children in our program come prepared for outdoor learning in most weather. Rainy day outdoor water play offers countless learning opportunities without the constraints of space and worries about spills. Young children are natural scientists and explorations in the rain promote an authentic sense of wonder in a unique way that is unmatched by an indoor space. Water is an ideal substance to learn about concepts of more/less, empty/full, before/after as well as principles of physics like water force, effects of gravity and much more. Children must utilise complex mathematical/ scientific thinking. Water play promotes language development as children learn new vocabulary like funnel, measuring cup, sieve, moisture, etc. They are also actively using language with peers and teachers to make sense of their experience. These children were required to use language abundantly and develop negotiation techniques to navigate complex social situations including sharing space/materials and working together toward common goals and shared ideas. The success of these rich, rainy day explorations is clear from the children’s engagement with the materials and each other. We teachers also feel refreshed and inspired after some joyful outdoor learning time.
Photos by Rebecca Smith (ICS EY Teacher)