School Age Program

January 2018

Relationships & Loose Parts…

What’s the connection?

As educators we are always evaluating the relationships between us and the children, the children and their peers and the children and the environment. This week we observed how the materials in the environment play a role in fostering positive relationships. Below is an example of how using “ loose part’s” and “ our environment as a third teacher” influences these relationships.

This past week the children have rediscovered the loose parts we have placed in our environment. At the end of last week Zack and Cash were observed using these materials along with the Contraptions and blocks to create “boathouses” and “islands”. On Friday Danica and Heather opened a store to sell these items to the boys, however they were still playing in small groups only engaging to make purchases.

To further provoke the use of loose parts we observed last week, we purposefully created a “loose parts” space right in the middle of the gym. Anchored by a carpet placed underneath three small tables and a large bucket of loose parts; created the stage for what transpired next. We saw for the first time, the children joining together, with one common idea, engaging in an elaborate role-playing scheme. Using the entire gym, the children created a whole new economy. With the loose parts placed in the middle it was an easy start to their new world, it was the hub of all activity. This placed transpired into what I would consider the “business district”. In this space Zander, Ava and Emilia had set up individual shops to sell their wears. At the front of the gym Zack and Cash had developed the “industrial area”. Using the blocks and stuffed animals (for their characters) they had created an “airport” where they worked, renting a “plane” to Ben. Ben became the “transporter” between the two districts. Each person had an assigned role and knew what the other roles were. There was negotiating of pay rates, and values were assigned to items. It is hard to describe all that was happening during this experience, it was amazing to see how “a bunch of random stuff” can bring us together, allowing collaboration on one common idea.


Morgan Atwood PSW