Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Mud, glorious mud!

"Childhood for me was basically a backyard, a spade and a bucket of mud with someone to look after you." Dirk Bogarde.

Today we celebrated the second annual Nature Action Collaborative for Children - International Mud Day.  And WOW what a day...  

Our mud pit is a part of our everyday play and is frequented by the children as you will have noticed from previous posts.  What I love about International Mud Day is the conversations that it initiates.  When the posters were placed around our service a week ago advertising the event, many parents, Certificate III and Diploma of Children's Services students began reflecting on the types of play they experienced as a child - building forts, making mud pies, using imagination and creativity daily in play.  When having these conversations, links were quickly made to the types of play children have today - over scheduled, structured, computer based, predictable.  It's amazing to see that "light bulb moment" when parents and students realise what they truly LOVED and remember most about their childhood - that they are not allowing their children to experience.

So following is an example of what the children experienced and my interpretation of their learning in our program today.  
The invitation to play was set and the children eagerly began play in the mud pit in a small group - working on a treasure hunt project and individually - making wombat stew. 
My favorite image of the day "help I'm stuck" the group worked together creating and hypothesising how they could get Josh out of the mud (without his gumboots remaining in the slosh)

Our Mud Pie cooking invitation - this was the 'oven' the children created a few weeks ago.

Pre-mathematical and science principles - sinking and floating patty pans
 Collaboration - lifting the heavy pot onto the stove

 Josh shared his family culture explaining to the children how to make pasta "Nonna mixes it all like this in the bowl and you pat it flat then you mix it some more for yummy pasta"
Collaboration - digging each other out of the mud bog
Science and connection to nature - discovering worms and snails and creating a new home in the garden for them
 Mud paint on the fence Perspex - what better than a muddy hand print to finish the painting?
"Come and buy at my shop" Isabella encouraged children to purchase her mud cup cakes, mud medicine and mud chicken nuggets.

The group easily experienced all 5 learning outcomes from the Early Years Learning Framework today. 
While many children enjoyed and frequented the mud play, a few did choose to watch from the edge or play away from the mess, indoors or in our outdoor home corner.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Prepare for international mud day

Our mud pit has always been popular with the children, but last week was the busiest I have seen it since we celebrated International Mud Day last June.  

Bella got the ball rolling - continuing play from the previous week, pretending to be stuck in the mud.   Shortly after play began a quick slip and Bella was on her bottom in a puddle of mud.  "I'm Peppa Pig taking a mud bath", she roared with laughter and began rubbing large handfuls of mud into her clothes.  Several children came over to watch and Bella asked them to get some more water for her bath.

Children asked to make mud pies, so scoops, containers, pots, pans and an oven made from a plank of wood and two buckets were added.

I noticed that some children were watching, turning down invitations to join the play so seating was added.