On a recent Monday, the Explorers took a hike in the rain. Earlier that morning, I emailed the parents and asked them to bring in boots and raincoats for their children because we hoped to take a hike before the heavy rain settled in. The Explorers arrived properly dressed. (Thank you parents!) We did morning activities while we watched the puddle in front of the school for signs of rain. It looked pretty light. Naya, one of our Explorers and I checked the radar. Rain was suppose to get heavy around noon. We ate a quick snack, dressed in our rain gear and walked out of the school. The rain was coming down heavier than we hoped for but we forged on. Kelly, co-teacher, and I decided on a short hike close to the school in case the rain got heavy. “Let’s walk to the magnolia tree and look at the buds. Then we can observe the changes and developments through the next few weeks,” I suggested.
We made our way to the magnolia tree on the hill as the rain fell heavier. The Explorers didn’t seem to mind the rain. This was a new twist on our typical outdoor routine and they were ready for it. We looked closely at the fuzzy gray buds, Kelly, pointed out how the rain collected in droplets on the branches. We cut a branch from the tree to bring back to the classroom so we could observe and record the changes. Then we made tracks for home, the rain now committed to ending all outdoor activity. The children were wet but smiling; enjoying the adventure and pleased with themselves—true Explorers!
Thinking ahead, Naya asked what we were going to do with the soggy rain gear when we reached the school. Kelly made a plan, “We’ll leave our wet jackets in the foyer and head into the cozy warm classroom.” I stayed back in the foyer to hang up the wet jackets. As I returned to the classroom, the Explorers were still buzzing about the hike in the rain, showing off their dripping clothes and hair. And Kelly was talking about, “a famous actor who danced and sang in the rain.”
What happened next? Yes, we found the video of Gene Kelly dancing in the rain in the movie Singing in the Rain and played it for the Explorers. In order for everyone to see the video, I held my laptop up at an angle. This meant I watched the children while they watched Gene Kelly dance. I saw amazement and delight in their smiling faces. And then, when Gene Kelly stood under the rainspout and stomped in the puddles, I saw shock and mischievous joy on those same faces. It is so much fun to share with children!
Jeanie, our Director, came in to see what all the laughter was about. The Explorers answered all at once, that they watched a man dancing in the rain. As if planned and rehearsed, Jeanie started dancing and singing: “I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again….” On cue, Amy, a teacher in the preschool, enter the room and joined Jeanie, “I’m laughing at clouds, so dark up above. The sun’s in my heart and I’m ready for love. Let the stormy clouds chase, Everyone from the place. Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face. I walk down the lane with a happy refrain. Just singin’, singin’ in the rain.” They finished the song and the class erupted in applause and laughter. A great way to spend a rainy day!
Kelly and I wanted to focus on the joy and adventure of being out in the rain. We could not have imagined how much fun we would have! Below is the video. (We skipped the goodnight kiss at the beginning.) Enjoy!
P.S. The video was shared with our preschoolers who reacted with the same delight. Teachers noticed a dramatic increase in puddle splashing that week!