While transforming our program’s environment, educators at Simon Fraser University Childcare Society-Bright Clouds started to think about providing more open-ended materials to infants and toddlers in our care, as we believe it inspires creativity. Moved by the educators and children’s interest in ‘Loose Parts’ and aesthetically pleasing provocations, the educators at Bright Clouds delved deeply into an exploration with materials with our research question being “How do loose parts inspire inquiry in Infants and Toddlers?”
Throughout our journey with ‘loose parts’, we have ventured out into our community at SFUCCS and have presented our findings and research with loose parts to our colleagues, asking them to share their research with materials. We have also created a loose parts library to make these open ended materials available to other programs within our society. At a recent Infant Toddler conference titled, “Offering In-Depth Learning Experiences for Infants & Toddlers Through Teacher Research” we presented our project, that we hear inspired many educators to think differently about materials they provide to infants and toddlers.
This experience has shifted how we create our environment, how we see materials and the intentionality of the materials in our space, and has instilled a deeper sense of community and collaboration between the programs at SFUCCS.
One of Reggio Emilia’s principles talks about the environment as a ‘third teacher’, and we now set our program as such, with intent, seeing it as a living, changing organism that shapes how we think, and behave. In accordance to Reggio Emilia’s approach of seeing children as protagonists, collaborators, communicators and co-constructors in their own learning, the educators at Bright Clouds provide children daily with beautiful provocations of ‘loose parts’, listening and documenting children’s interests and how they interact with the materials, and building new knowledge that extends their wonderings and curiosities.