Loose Parts: Experimenting with the Unexpected
The founder of the Reggio Emilia approach said, “The child has a hundred languages, a hundred hands, a hundred thoughts, a hundred ways of thinking of playing, of speaking.” (Loris Malaguzzi). As a Reggio-inspired school, the children of Raintree have endless opportunities to create, play and express themselves throughout the day. One of our favorite ways to do that is through loose parts. Loose parts are a collection of open-ended objects and materials for the children to explore, manipulate, build, and play with. Loose parts promote imagination and creativity, as children think out of the box and manipulate the objects in new ways. Using open-ended materials creates endless possibilities for the children. At Raintree School, our classrooms with a variety of loose parts, from natural materials like rocks and pinecones to recycled materials like bottle caps, corks, and clothespins. This year our Pre-K class is doing a project on Missouri Box Turtles. Within this project, the teachers challenged the children to create their own turtle out of our loose parts. This helped the children think about the anatomy of the turtle while promoting imagination and creativity.