This is something that struck us as we thought about our programmes and learning outcomes for the children (and ourselves!). When it really comes to it, isn’t the statement true? It is apparent in countries that go through the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, that you dress according to the season. You would look out the window to check the weather before opening your wardrobe to pick out an appropriate set of clothes before stepping out the front door. People in these countries change out their wardrobe clothes every season - shorts and tees in the summer, jackets, turtlenecks and long pants in the winter. Let’s not even start with all the transitional clothing for all the in between. Footwear changes based on the season as well. Flip flops, sneakers, sandals, boots, snow boots etc all serve their own weather purposes. Life doesn’t stop when weather changes.
So why should learning?
In local early childhood settings, children learn about weather. They discuss activities that can be done on a sunny day like going to the beach, or to the park to have a picnic. Typical rainy day activities involve staying indoors mostly at home, playing boardgames or reading a book. Maybe catching a movie at the cinema or going to the library if you are adventurous enough. What about playing in the rain? Stomping in puddles? To do so would mean hearing well-meaning people saying “you will fall sick”, “you will fall down”, or “you will get dirty”. But that wouldn’t be so if you are well-prepared, attire-wise. Raincoats can help you stay somewhat dry, and boots will protect your feet. Slippery ground is inevitable, but children wouldn’t know how to “be careful” if they don’t get the chance to experience and learn how to walk on wet surfaces.
We, in Singapore, are fortunate to have rain episodes that don’t last long (typically). We also have many sheltered areas even within outdoor spaces built for respite from the elements (heavy rain or scorching sun) that are free for us to use - so why not make use of them?
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
- Vivian Greene
During rainy season, our Thursday class at East Coast Park experiences quite a bit of rain. Most days it stops less than half way through the session and what we get are unique perspectives of the park/beach while it’s raining AND just after it rains. Things look, smell, and feel different after a rain shower. Children learn about rain, about properties of water, about wet and slippery surfaces. They learn about friction as they try to walk on a wet floor, and can literally feel the difference when walking on a wet road or wet ground. They are balancing, they are coordinating their movements, and are controlling their strength. Their understanding deepens as they problem-solve and make decisions based on what they know.
Don’t let these learning moments slip by. Go out and explore (perhaps in the rain?)!