Bath Siphon Kit
The Montessori philosophy places an enormous emphasis on helping the child to develop a meaningful connection with the natural world. The methodology also promotes the value of engaging in 'Practical Life' tasks, which promote the child's sense of self-esteem while also encouraging independence, problem-solving and motor coordination.
So it's always wonderful when a resource comes along that seamlessly connects 'nature' with 'Practical Life'. The Bath Siphon Kit certainly builds this connecting bridge. It allows a child to protect and preserve the natural environment by reusing grey water for helpful practical life tasks such as watering the plants.
The Bath Siphon Kit consists of a siphon pump, a suction cup (to attach it to the bath so it is held in place automatically), 4 metres of clear hose and a standard hose connector (in case you need to attach a regular hose to extend the length to reach from bath to garden!). The clear tube allows the child(ren) to easily observe the flow of water through the tube.
The Bath Siphon Kit is particularly relevant to our modern world, where we have become undeniably aware that sustainability is key to preserving the future well-being of our planet. At home, or at school, the Bath Siphon Kit can be used to ensure that we make the most of every drop of the precious resource of water. The average bath contains around 10 litres of water - that's 10 litres that we can share with our blossoming plants!
At home the kit can be used by placing the suction cup (at the shorter end of the hose) on the base of the bath. The longer end of the tube can be directed up and straight out of a window to the garden if the layout of your house permits this. Alternatively the tube can be held up and fed into a catchment vessel such as a bucket, watering can or portable sink. To get the flow of water started the child simply squeezes the pump a few times.
At school or pre-school the same basic process is utilised, but the source will most likely be different (I don't know of too many schools where children or teachers are taking a bath in the middle of the school day!). Grey water sources at a school might include a sink or a water-play trough. The latter is particularly relevant in early learning environments - water-play troughs provide a beautiful, engaging sensory experience for children but they are often hard to move when full. This can make it difficult to dispose of the water effectively. The Bath Siphon Kit solves that problem by allowing the trough to stay in one spot while the siphon hose directs the water to the garden (or catchment vessel).
Some examples of catchment vessels that can be used if you cannot direct the hose straight to the garden:
Please note: if you use a catchment vessel (such as watering cans or buckets) then you need to have a plan in place to swap out each individual vessel as it fills. A bath (or water trough) will contain much more water than you can fit in a single portable vessel. So you need to be ready to have an 'assembly-line' plan of action to ensure that you don't suddenly end up with a flowing hose and nowhere to put it! You can prepare to contain all the water effectively by having a few vessels that get emptied as the water flows then come back for more, or by having lots of vessels that are all filled one by one.
For instance, if using a one litre watering can to catch the water than a bath will fill around 10 watering cans. If you have multiple children helping (such as at a pre-school) then each child could have his/her own watering can. Once the first child's can is full then he/she works with a partner to quickly move the hose to the next watering can. The first child then goes off to water the garden while the second child is filling his/her can who then passes along the hose to the next waiting child and so on. If using the Siphon at home, where only one or two children might be helping, then there may not be enough time for a child to go empty the first vessel while the second one fills. So instead you might need to have multiple vessels all lined up ready to go before you start the flow into the first one. The single child (or small group) then just have to work on swapping the hose to the new vessel until the water flow steps - and to then carry these vessels to the garden as the final step.
The children carrying the full vessels off to the garden provides a fantastic gross-motor element to this experience!
The Bath Siphon Kit certainly promotes environmentally friendly habits, but it also introduces some scientific concepts! It can seem counter-intuitive at first glance for the water to be able to flow 'up' the hose. Older children will enjoy investigating the reasons why the siphon works. It is an interesting experiment to demonstrate atmospheric pressure!
Australian early learning environments will also find that the use of sustainable tools, such as the Bath Siphon Kit, help to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices as required by the National Quality Standards. NQS Area 3, Physical Environments, includes Standard 3.3; The service takes an active role in caring for its environment and contributes to a sustainable future. This features the elements 3.3.1 Sustainable practices are embedded in service operations and 3.3.2 Children are supported to become environmentally responsible and show respect for the environment.