Materials are so important in a program. I have found over the years that we have to be purposeful with our materials we provide the children. Just stuffing a room full of light up, play music, Leap Frog toys is not going to automatically create a great environment for the kids. Rather it is the simple items that lead to the most creative play. Old telephones, hand me down shoes, scarves, hats and accessories, simple books on every topic under the sun, crayons, clay…items that give the child the ability to create their own story line and scenery. I love watching the children get creative with the items we place in the room. Stacking cups for the infants? Nope! Ice cream dishes for the preschoolers!
I enjoyed the portion on this module on loose parts. This is something I would like to incorporate into my program even more than we do now. The article with the pictures was very helpful. It takes some wisdom and careful planning to get the right items in the right places assessible to the right kids but it would be such a great addition. We do have scrap stickers and papers in the art room, sliced tree branches as both indoor and outdoor blocks, and some other great items but I would like to learn how to use even more. The benefits are just so great. So much creativity and challenging thinking going on when the child gets to decide how and when they are going to use an item.