An Idea Was Formed
It all started simply enough. One of the Downstairs teachers noticed some rainwater had collected at the bottom of the slide, and tipped it over to empty the puddle out. The water ran down the dirt hill below the slide towards two children who watched with curiosity as the incoming flow gurgled, pooled, twisted and turned towards them. Someone found a stick and carved a path in the dirt for the last tiny bit of water to follow as it crept slower and slower down the hill.
An idea was formed.
There were calls for more water, and soon there was a convoy of students bringing watering cans and buckets of rain water to the top of the hill so they could pour it down and watch it’s path. More and more children gathered along the dirt slope with rakes and sticks, etching and grooving pathways for each new flow of water that was sent down by the students atop the hill.
I watched from a distance as literally every single child in the Downstairs gathered to watch and assist with the creation of the river system. Each of them seemed to enjoy different aspects of the activity. Some really liked to transport water, and others just wanted to be able to shout “look out below!” as they poured the water down the hill. There were engineers who carved the intricate river beds in the mud with their twigs, and excavators who loved to dig and pile dirt to collect and divert the water with pools and dams. There were data collectors who ran alongside the flow of water yelling with absolute glee every time the river made it further down the slope than it had before.
In the end, some buckets of water poured down a hill kept a group of 27 pre-K children totally engaged and focused for a big chunk of our outdoor time that day. I think we are all looking forward to the next rain so that this awesome hydrology project can start all over again!