Just three short months ago many of my three year olds would have balked at the idea of kicking off their shoes and playing in the dirt. More than half of them would descend into a fit of panicked tears if their fingers so much as got a tiny bit of paint, soil, glue, or ink on them. Art projects would have to be meticulously executed. After each dip in paint, I would have to quickly usher them into the bathroom to wash the offended appendage and assuage their ruffled composure.
Just two weeks ago, one of my more staunchly stubborn three year olds wept wailful tears as she accidentally stepped in a patch of freshly watered grass. She stood frozen in dismay as she hysterically lamented, “Teacher my shoes is wet...!” She then sat out the rest of outside play dabbing the inside of her plastic soles with a dry paper towel.
Fast forward to a balmy Monday afternoon. The heat had finally seemed to hit Bangkok, and my students were happily melting in the sun! The grounds keeping crew must have stumbled on an ingenious brainstorm, as our typically dried out sand pit had parts that were now swimming under about three inches of water. My students, still three and four years old, must have been especially hot as they did not skip a beat. Split seconds later they were barefoot and blissful with feet buried ankle deep in wet, soggy sand.
They dug, splashed, swished, clawed, and clamored their way through the muddy puddles completely in their joy. They didn’t even balk when sand landed on their everywhere!!
It seems tiny, but that transition from approaching an innocuous situation with trepidation and panic to managing their way through the mess and madness with reason and enjoyment is a milestone that this teacher will forever be particularly proud of!