Communicated and showed that children use many different ways to show their understanding and express their thoughts and creativity through loose parts play to families and the community.
The Child Care Options Resource and Referral program team is passionate about using and integrating loose parts and natural materials in child care settings. After our experience hosting a Pop-Up Adventure Play-ground, we were eager to share our experience of using community donated and collected loose parts with our Family Child Care providers.
The Learning Journey Grant was the avenue in which we were able to inspire family child care providers to explore Reggio Inspired principles to facilitate child led play.
Through our family child care networking sessions, we introduced the Learning Journey Grant and invited providers to participate. Our goal was to collaborate with child care providers in their settings, to discuss their philosophy, to expand on child led activities using loose parts, and to bring awareness on the value and use of documentation.
We chose five licensed family child care providers to participate in this learning journey with us. Each family child care setting was unique as the children that attend. Over the course of three months, we had collaboration days to support the journey. Based on the needs and strengths of their environment, changes were implemented to enhance the qualities of their program. Common challenges in their current setting were;
- Cluttered play areas with “traditional” toys and materials
- A fear of using loose parts with toddlers in multi age setting
- Abundance of plastic toys and teacher led activities
- Lack of documentation
We addressed the above challenges in our initial collaboration day and provided resources to explore learn-ing and collection of loose parts. The outreach team’s role was to collaborate, collect loose parts, and sup-port their learning using documentation. The participants role was to collect and introduce loose parts by observing children’s interest, declutter their environment, and reflect on their use of documentation.
The families’ loved the changes that were being implemented and supported the collection of loose parts. Observing the children using simple materials to expand their play was refreshing and inspiring for most of the providers to move forward with their learning journey.
The participants shared their ongoing documentation with us and moving our practice forward we have scheduled a family child care tour to showcase their journey. The tour will be the opportunity for other family child care providers to experience the benefits of incorporating loose parts and documentation into their environments. The journey will continue with us by networking and supporting family child care providers.