We have had ice before today; thin sheets on shallow puddles. Today was the first day that we had real ice. The kind you have to stomp on to get it to break, the kind that beckons you out to the middle of foot-deep puddle/ponds to see how many jumps it will take to break through. This was serious ice.
There is something about ice that just begs children (and adults, I confess) to break it – such a satisfying crunch and the interplay between the solid layer on top that conceals the liquid beneath. It leaves you wanting more and more. Being the committed inquiry-based, child-led teacher that I am, all of this ice leaves me in a pickle. I can’t let them walk out into the middle of the puddle/pond because I know that eventually they will break through and find themselves knee-deep in cold, icy water. But, at the same time, I don’t want to entirely deprive them of the ice-breaking pleasure that they so crave.
Arg! What to do?
So we become the ice police. We chase them away from the deeper spots and we let them go to town on the shallow puddles and ditches. Sometimes, when I’m watching them, I stomp down with my own heel… just to hear the crunch.