In 1972, architect Simon Nicholson developed the Theory of Loose Parts; the idea that loose parts, materials which can be moved around, designed and redesigned, and tinkered with; create infinitely more opportunities for creative engagement than static materials and environments.
Loose parts are the opposite of toys. Toys are used for one simple purpose where as you never know what the children are going to create and that is the absolute joy of loose parts! The only limits are the children's imaginations.
"Give a child a cardboard box and observe the many ways they can use it!"
Loose parts are a collection of items, usually natural materials, such as shells, tubes, blocks, material, corks, gems etc.
In a play, loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with...
Children are naturally motivated to play. A play-based program builds on this motivation, using play as a context for learning. In this context, children can explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in imaginative and creative ways.
A play-based approach involved both child-initiated and teacher-supported learning. The teacher encourages children's learning and inquiry through interactions that aim to stretch their thinking to higher levels.
For example, while children are exploring building with loose part materials, our teachers pose questions that encourage problem solving, prediction and hypothesising. The teacher can also bring the child's awareness towards mathematics, science and literacy concepts, allowing them to engage with such concepts through hands-on learning.
"We didn't even know we were learning we were just having fun"
As with traditional approaches, play-based early years programs are focused on teaching and learning. In such programs, play can...