When you incorporate loose parts into your classroom for the first time, there is bound to be a learning curve. You’ll have to teach the children appropriate ways to use the Marian’s, and model how to be creative with them. Many of your children may not be familiar with open-ended materials like these and they may not choose to use them simply because they aren’t sure how.
Here are some tips for teaching children to use these types of materials;
- Incorporate them slowly – start with one or two different types of loose parts that you use for planned activities, then leave these in the classroom for children to explore. If you introduce them during planned small group activities the children will have the opportunity to interact with them while you are nearby for supervision and assistance.
- Model the different possibilities – modeling what to do with loose parts can be tricky because you don’t want to tell the children how to use them or what to do with them in a way that limits the potential. As you model you’ll want to talk about all of the different things they can be used for and encourage the children to help you brainstorm so that they can share their thoughts too.
- Set clear expectations – there will always be certain rules that you want the children (keep them out of your mouth, handle them gently, put them back where they belong when you are finished with them, etc.) demonstrate these expectations early and often.
- Get excited about them – express interest when you see the children using them and call attention to what they create with them. Encourage them to share their work with each other. These actions will help the children be more enthusiastic about using the loose parts and more curious about what their friends are doing with them.
Check out the rest of this week’s posts on loose parts: