Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Loose parts - A new direction

I recently went to 'The future of Early Years conference' in Salford.  It was an exceptional experience and I met some wonderful people.  I wasn't sure what to expect because the conferences I have been to have been low key and short - this one was packed with some wonderful speakers and networking opportunities.
One of the things which inspired me was the talking about both loose parts and open-ended activities.  Now I'm not new to loose parts. Since I started using twitter and blogger a few years ago I have seen some amazing examples of loose part play.  (See in particular!) 

We already did this to some extent but we didn't have too many baskets or groups of objects available. We tended to allow the children to use whatever resources were available (usually plastic).

This experience has come at the right time because I've felt like I have departed somewhat from planning for specific activities in areas (which are rather closed ended). This is the reason I've had such a gap in posts as I feel that once you start following the interests of the child its hard to blog or talk about 'what works,' especially as all cohorts are very different.

So over this last week I stripped away a lot of the generic plastic toys from our construction area (our largest open space area) and introduce baskets (thanks Headingley and Skipton chairty shops!) containing random loose parts. Some of these we had scavenged, others were available elsewhere in the setting.  

We brought in some masking tape and taped this in patterns on the floor. The children used these in lots of different ways, including enclosing the space with loose parts but also living objects up.  Basically a lot of engaging in schematic play.  (Schema - another thing we need more talk of in our setting!).  

We also brought some branches into the classroom and slotted these into the milk crates. 

All of the resources were left out without any adult intervention and it was really lovely what we got out of the children:

Each day was completely different and each child approached the play in very different ways. What I loved to see was the amount of boys which were engaging with the resources. In our setting the boys tended to refrain from using small fine motor resources but they seemed to appreciate the open space and the independence/choice. 

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous post, James; only just seen it! Love loose parts play.
    Thank you so much for mentioning my blog!
    Keep up the good work! ;-)