How does learning happen?
Children are capable, competent, curious and have tremendous potential
What are loose parts?
- Anything you can put in a container
- Parts children can carry with them
- Objects that can be separated into lots of pieces
- Items that can be mixed together
The intention of using loose parts is to give a child the experience of play that is; creative, innovative, free-flowing. We know the importance of loose parts from the Ontario Elect curriculum. This can be observed when we are setting up dynamic learning opportunities for free play in a classroom.
Within the classroom loose parts can be used in guided play, setting up a provocation, or a learning opportunity for children and stepping back and allowing exploration and discovery to happen. Remember it is important not to hijack play. Loose parts are a part of free play, children can play with the parts freely by themselves and discover learning on their own terms.
What you may notice is that when you read with children, they will incorporate the stories in their play. During play, the stories allow children to take loose parts and make sense of the story and cement the learning that is happening through discovery based learning.
It is important to be open-minded when working with young children, make sure you are not closed off about how the child plays as you yourself would do it differently. Instead, think about how loose parts can be introduced in different ways in the classroom and how they can help children scaffold to the next level of learning.
Loose Parts and Child Development
Working with loose parts allows children to explore and be unsuccessful. Give them materials that are different sizes, different shapes, so things fall and don't fit together. Loose parts give children the opportunity to try new and exciting things, explore with their imagination, create, discover and fail.
Loose parts play offers us the opportunity to develop language. Discuss size, shape,colour, have the children share their stories with you and tell you what they are creating. Through your observation and documentation, you will discover that loose parts offer children the opportunity for free thought, creativity, and cognitive growth.