So, yesterday was Earth Day. I didn’t plan anything specific to celebrate – I prefer child led activities over planned instruction.
One year I had a four-year-old who chose to make ‘confetti’ out of the leftover bits of a hay bale along with miscellaneous items she collected from our garden. She spent the rest of our outdoor play time running around the yard tossing the confetti into the air and cheering ‘Celebrate the Earth!’ The other children joined in.
This year my preschool group is very young. Early in the day, after everyone arrived and we were playing together in the playroom I mentioned to the group that it was Earth Day. There was casual interest as I talked about the Earth, the environment, celebrations etc. Mostly the toddlers just played as they should.
We continued through our regular schedule much like any other day – indoor & outdoor play, meal times, potty breaks, nap etc. On several occasions the children initiated ‘birthday parties’ – one of their favourite dramatic play themes. It took me a while to catch on – probably longer than it should have.
After nap time as the first child got up he said ‘Happy Birthday Cheryl’ and then ran off to play. As I put away the cots and blankets other children came over to wish me a happy birthday too. Some offered hugs too. That’s when I finally realized what was going on and tried to fix it.
Me: ‘It’s Earth day, not my birthday. EARTH day’.
Toddlers: ‘Happy Birthday Cheryl’.
Me: ‘No, EARTH day. E-A-R-T-H Earth day’ (spelling for toddlers like that might help). I showed them the globe and a world map. ‘Earth‘.
Sigh. No, no cake. I didn’t even think of having cake on Earth Day. In fact, it was hard to think of doing anything different on Earth day because around here we always celebrate nature and the Earth. We don’t need a special day for that.