As many people working in Long Day Care Centres will tell you, we love our sandpits. Unfortunately that also comes with the job of keeping the sand IN the sandpit. Not travelling around in buckets to be dumped down drains or poured on to the cement or carted around in trolleys or trucks, leaving little trails to be swept up by staff.
So when I saw an enormous pile of sand that had obviously been distributed there and then forgotten, it was off to fetch the dustpan and brush before it became a spread too large to clean up quickly. However, as often happens, I was waylaid by more important matters with children and parents. No drama really, that’s what I’m here for after all 🙂
By the time I returned to the sand puddle, it no longer looked like a discarded mess to be cleaned, but an important piece of art and communication.
So I stopped what I was going to do. And instead asked the children nearest to it, what had they been drawing.
“A treasure map!”
“You start here but have to go to the bridge and fight monsters”
“And use a boat!”
“You need a sword! *schwiiing*(sword being pulled out noise)”
“This is where you walk over the mountains”
“This is the treasure!”
“But more monsters and then you get the jewels”
My lovely Boy was eloquent and explanatory about their map. My beautiful girl was able to relate the whole thing back to “Playing Link on the computer with my brother”
What an important connection between home, care and friends had just happened here! And to think, if i was quicker at sweeping it all up, I would have missed such a fantastic opportunity to expand on this Treasure Map Role Play! So, Brooms away and off I went to collect paper, crayons and coffee tinted water.
We all sat around the sand map and let S and A explain the story again. Each child took a page and a crayon and began drawing their own treasure maps.
Knowing that coffee water could stain paper, but hoping not to make a bigger mess, we moved to the sandpit to finger paint on our maps. The first few to try were upset that some sand had gotten on to their art, but I excitedly explained that now their treasure maps looked like they had been buried for a long time! Soon, everyone was finger painting and then pouring sand on their pictures, followed by a shake and a display!
So I didn’t clean up the sand that day. But what I did do was far more important. So next time I see a random sand pile in the yard,I plan to stop, look and think ‘How was this important to someone today?’