It Not "Just Recess" Anymore!

Teachers often heave a sigh of relief when they take their students out to recess. Finally! The children can burn off the pent up energy they had been accruing for the past few hours indoors. But what if we change our outlook on outdoor play time? What if we create an outdoor environment that offered all of the learning opportunities that one would typically find indoors? What if children could run out to a well-planned play yard to find experiences in math, science, nature, dramatic play, water, building and construction, sensory activities, physical development, art and music? What if they play yard developed critical thinking, discovery, problem solving, and cooperative skills? The result would be that we wouldn't have "just recess" anymore. We would have The Outdoor Classroom!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Barrel Pumps in the Outdoor Classroom

We recently added this beautiful barrel pump to our Outdoor Classroom. It was a simple addition, yet it has added a wealth of engagement in our OC. Our garden has been an integral part of our yard, however, we have always needed a staff member present to fill our little ones' watering cans with the hose. This old-fashioned barrel pump was the perfect solution. Not only do the children flock to the pump to fill their canisters for watering their class gardens, but the pump offers unique lessons on water flow, cause and effect, and the new gross motor movement of pumping the handle up and down. In fact, our three year olds were so intrigued with the pumping action, they didn't even venture into filling containers until after a few days!

The pump was built by one of our handy parents. We simply purchased a large wine barrel and an "old fashioned pitcher pump" at our local hardware store. Click HERE to find the model we used. The entire system cost approximately $70! Our handy parent then caulked the barrel, installed the metal platform, and then bolted on the pump.