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Marvelous Mud

by Rusty Keeler
March/April 2011
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/marvelous-mud/5019878/

So there I was, minding my own business at the Open Spaces Preschool in Whangarei, New Zealand this past November. I had just come back from spending a glorious three hours with eight preschoolers and two teachers in the “Wild Woods”" a nearby 4-acre plot of ancient forest and meadow where kids get to explore, play, and connect with the natural world, Forest-School style. I was excited from the adventure and had used up just about all the batteries in my camera, when back in the school’s playscape I noticed some interesting happenings.

Their play area, like the school itself, is a great combination of natural materials, plants, sculpture, kid-built structures, and animals (chickens!) One feature I had noticed the day before was a small plot of dirt surrounded by smooth boulders next to the sand play area. Lately I have been adding “dirt digging” areas next to “sand digging” spaces to spice up the fun in my own designs, so I was pleased to see their cute little dirt space. How nice. This time, however, when I walked over to the dirt area something very interesting was happening: a teacher and a four-year-old girl had a hose spilling a trickle ...

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