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The Value of Loose Parts

Posted by: Rhonda June 2, 2015

Catalogs overflow with wonderful and inspiring—but often pricey—learning materials for early childhood classrooms. Unfortunately, teachers are often expected to reach into their own pockets to provide these resources for their classrooms.

Loose parts, in contrast, “can often be had for free, and they offer a bonus: they encourage you to reuse, renew, and recycle,” write Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky.

“As educators, we've taken enormous pleasure in unearthing loose parts for our programs. Over the years, we've stumbled upon an almost limitless variety of treasures. In the aisles of a hardware store, we've found vinyl gutters perfect for enhancing outdoor play. At a garage sale, we came across a box of old wooden spools that later found a place in our art and block areas. Some of our favorite unexpected finds were the cow bones we found along a back road. Back at the center we buried them in the sand of the play yard, where children screamed with excitement while they discovered what they called ‘dinosaur bones.’”

In this age of standards and scripted curriculum where do loose parts fit in? Everywhere! Read more.