Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celebrating Mud


For those of you who didn't realise, Saturday, June 29th was International Mud Day. In fact I wasn't aware of this day until I saw other bloggers posting about it last year. So this year I wanted to be a part of the celebrations.

Now I could try to go into details about the history of this event and its significance to Australia in particular, but I think you would gain a much better understanding by visiting the relevant page at the World Forum website which you can access by clicking here.

Now I had planned for the children to have access to some mud by adding waster & dirt to a tub. We have a mud pit about to be constructed, but it is not ready yet and a portion of our playground is cordoned off due to ongoing landscaping work, hence the trough option rather than open access.

Another reason for providing mud in this way was that I am relatively new to my service and there are some educators and parents who have reservations about children playing in mud. So rather than cause controversy and get new colleagues and families off side early on I thought this would enable those children who wanted (or were allowed to by their parents) to explore the mud without others 'accidently' becoming part of the play.

As it turned out those considerations were not necessary as it rained fairly constantly all week and there was a very suitable mud puddles right in the middle of the grassed area. Still, the other groups decided not to be part of this experience so my group of children headed out to enjoy the muddy fun themselves.
There was the expected jumping in the puddle, causing the muddy water to splash up all over those nearby. Some, including myself and my colleague, stood in the middle and wriggle our bare toes so the mud squelched between them. A few children then created a game where one at a time they ran up and leapt into the puddle. I waited for someone to slip and land on their bottom, but no-one did. Whether by chance or design they were able to judge their speed and time their leap accordingly so that they remained upright upon landing. Quite impressive.

Now I would love to do so much more next year, but that will be up to the children. As it turned out they had an absolute ball anyway. Even those who were a little apprehensive too begin with. I even found parents that were apparently against the idea of their child getting dirty supporting the idea and loving to here about their child's exploits upon pick up.

There are a couple of lessons to be gotten out of this experience. First of all we should never assume that anyone, parents or children, will be reluctant to be part of a particular experience or event. Secondly, we can plan things down to the 'n'th degree and yet it is usually the spontaneous moments that create they greatest joy and best opportunities for learning.

I will hopefully add some photos at a later time so you can see the absolute joy had by all. Even without photos though I hope you can envisage the benefits of such an experience. And I mean benefits to all, including us educators. I had a blast and it was a truly marvellous day for me as an individual and a professional. That can only be good for my overall wellbeing.