Pet Peeves. We all have those little annoyances throughout the day-those things that make you sigh and roll your eyes. But most of those come and go without your adopting it as a pet. There is one thing that truly can make me pull my soap box out of the supply closet and start ranting- not letting kids get messy in the classroom. Sensory integration requires it. Learning is born from it. Kids thrive in it.
Parents and teachers will nod their heads as if to say "Sure we love it", but frowns greeting kids at the end of the day along with the "Oh, what's on your shirt?" says it all. They don't get it.
In my class, we go all in. When we all go home with paint in our hair, was it worth it? Do activities such as finger-painting have scientific research supporting its importance? You bet! Research shows that finger painting increases small motor coordination, facilitates pre-writing skills and serves as a medium for children to progress through the many stages of scribbling. Plus, along with sensory and tactile awareness, the neurological development benefits are numerous, including the increased ability to cross mid-line an important, basic prerequisite skill required for the appropriate development of various motor and cognitive skills, and developing the ability to self-regulate. Both are basic, prerequisite skills needed for other learning and development to take place.
So, yes, I get very irritated when an adult says "I'm all for messy play...except that it is so messy." Think back to your favorite memory from childhood. Does the phrase "Keep clean" enter into the memory at all? If so, I'm sorry. It's still not too late to get messy now.