When I was planning for what we would be doing with our pumpkins, I thought about what H enjoys doing, what she can do and what she needs to learn to do. I also thought about ways to stretch out what we were going to do as a means of deepening learning and covering more learning domains, not to mention, make the most out of our pumpkin purchase and generate content for this blog.
Even though I planned, this experience was far from successful. I was reminded that other factors at play like time of day, mood and what else is going on affect a child’s ability to learn, play and engage with their learning environments. Not to mention that children’s interests shift and change and succesful planning follows the child’s leads. So while this whole series is not in line with emergent curriculum and following the child’s lead and more closely resembles traditional preschool planning, I am sharing it because it gives me an opportunity to reflect and better my own practice.
The pumpkins we had picked from the farm were quite dirty. I thought H might enjoy washing the pumpkin, drawing on it and washing it again. This is an activity that is often done in preschool with small pumpkins at the water table. We don’t have a water table at home and I didn’t want to deal with the mess of an impromptu water table at home. I thought about doing it in the bathtub but given how heavy the pumpkin was (and how lazy I was) I decided to just put a mat down on the floor and encourage her to give the pumpkin a sponge bath. Here she is rolling the pumpkin and starting to clean it.
We later brought the pumpkin over to her table and I gave her markers to draw on the pumpkin. While children who enjoy drawing might really enjoy this experience, it only captivated H’s attention for a few minutes. I am almost sure that had I just given her the pumpkin in the bathtub with paint earlier in the day, she would have sat for an hour playing considering how much she enjoys sensory experiences. By this late in the evening she was tired and distracted and my lack of enthusiasm didn’t help.
One interesting thing that did arise from this experience will be covered later in this series. We could not have predicted the unpleasant consequences of this activity.