I think that I, like many other providers, feel we need to have expensive curriculum materials to support our program, or to show that we can justify our cost to parents by providing a pre-bought curriculum. In my day care home, I have many families that have the financial means to shower their children with all the latest toys and electronic devices. It can sometimes be difficult to convince parents that playing with a container of lids is more educational than the $30 toy they just bought!
I have recently collected old TV trays from my in-laws and I use them outside for the children to display the things they find from nature. We have pine cones, feathers, acorns, rocks, leaves, etc. They like to touch them and examine them. They are also great for pretend play. The pinecones become money and the sticks become gas pumps for the cozy coupes. This type of play requires that the provider set up the environment so that the children can have these play experiences.
We as early childhood professionals know the value of play and using materials that encourage imagination, collaboration and free thinking. I’d like to know what strategies other providers use to convince parents of the value in ordinary items they play with