It is important for directors and program administrators to lead the way when it comes to incorporating loose parts. Your guidance, knowledge, and excitement about loose parts will be invaluable to staff members who are new to using these kinds of learning materials.
Use a variety of methods to introduce the concept of loose parts play. You can share articles, books, videos, or professional development courses, such as the one offered by CCEI (CUR125: Loose Parts: Incorporating Found Objects and Open-Ended Materials into the Classroom). Once employees have had the chance to review the materials, hold discussions about the benefits that loose parts would bring to the program, as well as the challenges that might arise.
Before collecting any new materials, take some time to guide teachers through a few of the following reflections:
- Consider your program’s philosophy and mission statement. Work with staff members to align the benefits of loose parts to the overall mission of the program.
- Work with individual teachers and teaching teams to reflect on how loose parts play relates to the goals teachers are attempting to reach in their learning environments.
- Ask teachers to evaluate the materials that are currently used in the environment. How many could be considered loose parts? Which materials could be used in conjunction with loose parts? Which areas of the classroom could be enhanced with loose parts?
- Ask teachers to consider the storage of loose parts. Where will materials be stored when not in use? What needs to happen to make space for the storage of loose parts? For example, do teachers need time to clean out a closet before bringing in new materials?
- Work with teaching teams to identify a few simple, starter materials that teachers can introduce in to the learning environment. Help teachers decide how the materials will be introduced to children and a few guidelines for the use of the materials – but keep in mind that the use of these materials should be largely child-driven.
As teachers become more comfortable and confident with the implementation of loose parts, challenge them to continue to think outside of the box about the materials they use in the classroom.
You can find more tips for getting started in this resource here.
For the main article Exploring Loose Parts, CLICK HERE
For the article Benefits of Loose Parts, CLICK HERE
For the article Loose Parts for Infants & Toddlers, CLICK HERE
For the article Loose Parts for Older Children, CLICK HERE