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Fairy Dust Teaching Winter Conference 2018: Loose Parts to Promote STEAM

Loose Parts to Promote STEAM

Loose parts are such an integral part of our program at Red River ELC because they are inclusive, engaging and supportive of all children in our program. I love to see how creative the children can be with the materials so I was really excited to listen to this webinar.

Lisa Daly (one of the professional authors featured in this webinar) discussed the fact that using loose parts can encourage symbolic thought because children are using items as many different things. They come to understand that one thing can stand for another thing and this skill can be applied to letters and numbers! What an inspiring reason to incorporate loose parts in to play.

It's so incredible to hear that incorporating loose parts in to the classroom can help with behaviors that stem from anxiety! That these pieces can inspire self-confidence, creativity and support development across the spectrum of growth.

I love that Miriam Beloglovsky (author) stated that elements of STEAM are not taught in isolation and should be integrated everywhere in order to make sense. Loose parts allow children to explore each of these concepts without limiting their creativity, innovation or critical thinking. It brings STEAM to life in a natural way without pressure, just by providing children with the tools to explore!

Technology in the preschool/toddler/infant classroom can look like simple tools, paraphrasing from the video: you must know how tools work before you can discover how more complicated technology like a computer works. Providing simple loose parts allows children to manipulate and change things in their environment, to discover what tools to use to solve problems.

Tinkering is valuable for children; it creates opportunities to problem solve, to test and develop wonder. What can we place in the environment to inspire engineering?
  • wood planks
  • gutters
  • tubes
  • water
  • dirt
  • mud
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
Listening to this webinar it really struck me that it is crucial to trust children. To give them chances to take risks. Be there to support them but allow them to explore safely: "Take care of the hazard so that you can allow the risk"

"Look for the verb, not the noun" - Being aware of the schemas of development and observing what the children are interested in allows you to enrich your environment with materials that will encourage the exploration of what truly engages them. Materials must be intentional and provoke children's learning.

Reflective practice is so important; it helps you to understand how to enrich the environment for the children to explore and to expand on their learning. Make sure that materials are of interest to them.

This webinar was amazing! I can't wait to dive in to the rest of the Winter Conference 2018!


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