As a passionate early childhood teacher, walking into Reverse Garbage at Woolloongabba was exhilarating, as I know the endless amount of play opportunities the loose part items were going to provide our kindergarten children. Within our indoor and outdoor environments at Eskay Kids Capalaba we have a substantial amount of loose part items, both big and small, that allow our children to design, create and explore with.
Loose parts are open-ended materials with no specific purpose, and can be used in many different ways. They are natural or synthetic items, that children can easily carry, move, tinker with and redesign. They provide children with infinite opportunities to creatively express themselves and enhance their play opportunities.
Within our Kindergarten environment, these are some of the loose part items our children have access to each day:
- Cardboard tubes
- Small recycled pieces of plastic
- Wood cut-offs
- Different coloured small and large tiles
- PVC pipes
- Milk crates
- Seed pods
- Tiny stones
- Natural items such as leaves, sticks, pine cones etc.
- Wire racks
- Mixture of small plastic lids
- Carpet squares
- Material cut offs
And the list goes on…..
By providing children with loose part items, I believe it provides them with endless opportunities to be creative, engage and collaborate with other children, develop their problem solving skills, as well as early literacy and mathematical understandings. I believe children have richer play experiences when they have access to a wide variety of materials that have open-ended possibilities. Play is such a vital aspect of early education, and providing children with loose part items enhances their play opportunities.
Loose Parts in Action!
As you can see, our Kindergarten children thoroughly enjoy creating with loose parts, and each day they are able to utilise these resources in different ways. Whilst observing the process of Ethan, Hamish and Parker’s play, it was evident there was a great deal of learning and enjoyment occurring. They spent an extended period of time carefully and purposely placing each item in the position they wanted it, whilst discussing and negotiating with each other about their project design. They were able to work cooperatively and collaboratively to create what they had envisaged, whilst using their imaginations and creativity.
During this process, where they were so deeply engaged and excited about their project, they didn’t need support or guidance from their educators, they just needed uninterrupted time and space. Once they were ready, they excitedly announced to their educators and peers that they had created a baby elephant house! They had even created an elephant costume with some material cut offs and sticky tape!
You tell me where you could buy resources that would allow your children to make a baby elephant house and costume?
Loose Parts + Long Uninterrupted Periods of Play = Learning
Written by Courtney Sandilands
Early Childhood Teacher
Eskay Kids Capalaba