Dress for Mess

At our school kids get messy. One of the first things we say to new parents is: dress for mess, aprons are optional, we play in mud and we get dirty. Every day. A lot.

Every year we have kids that love getting muddy, wet and dirty and kids that don’t. Funny thing is though, that after repeated exposure to the messy part of preschool life, most of the sensory kids that do not enjoy it, grow to like it as well. They start mixing the mud pie with a long stick, then a small spoon and eventually just laugh when they spill it all over their shoes. They keep wiping every drop of paint from their fingers with a wipe, then they start washing their hands in the garden and soon, they don’t even notice the spills anymore (that much).

We are not trying to make the kids intentionally messy – just because. But we want to make sure they know it is ok. We try to teach them that there is time and place for messy of play and it is here and now. We want them to feel safe and comfortable exploring their environment, and you cannot really do that and stay 100% clean.

Outside we try to answer yes to most of the questions. Yes, you can spill the paint on the floor here. Yes you can paint that playhouse blue. Yes, you can use the box so you can reach the chimney. Yes, you can mix sand and mud in the sensory table. Yes you can water the garden (even though it it January and it has been raining for 4 months now). Yes you can dig that hole to see where it leads you. Yes. Yes. Yes. As long as the kids are safe, they can explore, run, dig, spill and get messy every day here. No matter the weather.


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