The picture below is a picture of my work pants from today. At first glance, I was mortified, afraid of what parents and family members would think when they came to pick up their little ones. But then I quickly realized that I am not ashamed of these pants but rather proud. As I greeted families at the door, I used my pants as a guide to share our adventures and lessons learned for the day.
See, these pants represent what our preschool classroom is all about. Our preschool classroom is messy. Students exploring colors at the art center with paint, students measuring and calculating how much sand and water fits into a cup at the sensory table, students practicing writing their name in shaving cream. It is chaotic. Students weaving in and out of centers, finding a baby in the dramatic play area and then quickly heading to the block area to pull out just the right blocks to build this baby a house or bed. Students eagerly listening to a story read, and jumping up when they hear something that they can relate to such as a birthday cake or even a bed (“baby bear’s bed is small. My bed is small too!”) Our preschool classroom is all encompassing, just like the stains on these pants. There is no start and end to a lesson in our room, rather an ongoing adventure, led by the students, that we are so lucky to get to be a part of.
Today’s adventure, that led to the spotted pants, was an experiment to make our own bubbles, after having read the book “Soapy Scientists” earlier in the week. But not just any bubbles, we wanted to make BIG bubbles. We had made small bubbles all week using traditional bubbles and bubble wands but learned that the opposite of small is big and the challenge was on. Our classroom friend, Ms. P found a recipe and we got to incorporate our letter of the week as we “s”tirred our mixture of dish soap, water, cornstarch, baking soda, and glycerin.
From there, we headed outside, where we used “s”traws and “s”tring to make big bubble wands and the rest is history. We ended up a little messy and spotted but our “s”oapy “s”cientists were successful, creating bubbles as big as they were! The best s word of all was seen throughout this lesson: “s”miles as the students saw their experiment in action, achieving what they had set out to do.
I challenge you to embrace the mess and chaos that your classroom may bring and if you don’t see chaos and mess, I challenge you to incorporate a little bit of mess and chaos at some point in your day. Students learn best when they can get their hands (or pants) dirty, both hypothetically and literally. Whether it be paint, shaving cream, or a concoction that the students are testing out, let the mess happen. Pants, hands, desks can be washed but the memories made and experiences had will last a lifetime!