The play was rich in personal, social, and physical learning. Not to mention how much of it could be connected to curriculum standards around science, math, language, etc.
Ultimately, the teacher and I finished our chat with the agreement that the children participating in puddle play were not in any danger and the opportunities for learning were actually quite significant.
The experience highlighted how our perceptions of risk and appropriate play are deeply influenced by social norms, like our beliefs around whether it’s ok for children to get wet (and maybe even a little uncomfortable?) and whether such an experience is valuable for learning. It also highlighted issues around access and equity inherent in outdoor play, particularly around children’s access to clothing that can help them stay comfortable in wet conditions. Moreover, it highlighted how our own personal comfort outdoors, as adults, truly dictates the experiences of children. As we become more comfortable being outside with the elements ourselves, so can our children.