Not surprisingly, interactions with the natural world are manifest more earnestly in the outdoor classroom where natural materials are in greater abundance. Within the first minutes of being outside, Caleb found "in place" but out of place Pussy willow branches. Almost immediately he set about to put them into the ground. His actions caught the attention and subsequent interest of other children. Together they displayed a curious and vested interest in "planting the trees." They displayed their capabilities in establishing their intentions to plant the branches into the ground and to use available resources of sand, water, their own human power, and the social capital of their friends and teachers. In the end the "tree" was planted, and Hugh exuberantly announced, "Melanie, we gave the tree lots of water! Water helps it to grow! We put water on it and look--the tree got taller and taller!" Toward the end of our outdoor playtime, Max rushed to inform that the "bubbles were overflowing" in the outdoor classroom sink.
Water continues to come through as an interest for manyRainey Room (formerly Brown Room) children. The "problem" of the overflowing water, never mind the bubbles, was presented to the few children who assisted in turning off the faucets. And a question was offered regarding a different but related problem: How can we collect and save all the water that overflows from the sink? As of now, it just flows down the metal sink, onto the bricks, down into the drain, and away where we can no longer see it. Perhaps, experiences for exploring the absorbency properties of different and various materials is to come. Inside the classroom, experiences involving visual spatial play, exploring the stability of a structure, and engaging in imaginative play using a phone, unit blocks, a cash register, fabric, mini bricks, and a host of other materials were happening already.