It's a collaborative work that pushed me to the limit of my comfort zone, but I did some self-talk as I noticed the deeply engaged children exploring the paint in ways that are natural for children. They were in a state of mind only reached while in play, they seemed so enthralled with the process as the paint dripped, splashed and blended together, this creative freedom seemed intoxicating. The children were pulled deeply into the experience, closely observing, thinking, then adding elements as if answering questions or playing out assumptions they held in their minds and hearts.
With closer observation and a shift in mindset, we can see that this experience is bursting with meaning. It is providing each participant with a sense of belonging, a sense of power, freedom of expression, and pure joy. Moments like this are of utmost value and should be the goal of every preschool environment.
Supporting these intrinsic needs in young children in our programs requires educators to reflect on their program culture and environment, then alter their practice and design.
What do your policies say about powerful messy play?
How do you support and inform parents about the importance of powerful messy play?
What verbal, non-verbal and/or unintended messages are we giving children about powerful messy play?
How does our program design support or hinder the act of powerful messy play?
Who are we designing for?
How can we alter our classroom design to support powerful messy play?
Starting here will create a ripple effect that will take you and your team to a place of deep reflection, re-creation, and rethinking of your practice around powerful messy play.
Founder of Play Empowers,
Early Childhood Presenter and Consultant
Co-Host of Dirty Playologist Podcast Owner/Director/Educator at Discovery Early Learning Center