This week we were talking about the Bible story of Ruth - and about helping our families. One of our favorite activities was scooping and pouring barley grain. And using the magnifying glasses to examine it.
Maybe we could have used a larger container, but it would have mean more barley to have a good depth for scooping. But we had opportunities to negotiate, problem-solve, and cooperate. They worked well together.
Even our homemade people made an appearance in the barley.
Of course, scooping and pouring often leads to wayward grain on the table and floor. But we have a solution for that - cleaning up after ourselves.
I often tell people I"m a lazy preschool teacher - I don't want to make additional work for myself. That doesn't mean that we do easy or "not messy" activities. That does mean that the kids help (or lead) in the clean-up of what we do. Real work--real responsibility--is important for kids. They can contribute to the overall work of the classroom. They learn to keep the room (their environment) more orderly. They learn that they have a responsibility to contribute to the "community" of the classroom. (And they realize that being a little "crazy" with the barley includes cleaning up afterward.)
Our room often looks in complete disarray while we are playing/working/learning. That's as it should be. But we all have a responsibility to make sure our materials are put away (so we'll have them another day) and our room is clean. And, hopefully, we'll learn some life skills in the process. In the (modified) words of Uncle Ben (from Spiderman): "With great play comes great responsibility."