Loose Parts Book Review
Loose Parts Inspiring Play in Young Children wass the book of the month for the March 2016 Montessori on a Budget (MOAB) book club. This is my review of the book. *Note: I bought my own copy.
The authors of Loose Parts are Miriam Beloglovsky and Lisa Daly who each have a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education.
Loose Parts is similar to a Reggio based learning approach and is not only a collection of useful materials, but the setting up of provocations or setting the stage for the classroom to be a third teacher. The environment and loose parts help teach as they draw the children in who will want to know what is going on.
Loose parts help teachers and parents set up play provocations.
The children are presented with some loose parts, a story or staging, and work to construct solutions to the presented problem. They engage in higher level thinking, creativity, and the discovery of multiple possible solutions. The actual materials or loose parts may be reconfigured for use in new provocations, sorted, save, and reorganized for other problem-solving activities. It is STEAM learning!
The table of contents includes:
Senses: color, texture, sound
Creativity: art, design, symbolic play
Action: movement, transporting, connecting/disconnecting
Inquiry: construction, investigation, and correlation
Loose parts are not considered to be a toy-based approach but play that stimulates curiosity and allows children to be creative. This approach is explained in the first chapter. While there are dozens and dozens of beautiful photos, there are no specific recipes or instructions, and whatever materials a teacher or parent can find may be incorporated into this philosophy. The authors credit a British architect Simon Nicholson with coining the term loose parts in 1971.
The authors state that, “Children feel productive when they accomplish something, when their work is valued, and when they do not feel a sense of failure.” The children are challenged and allowed to use their abilities for developmentally appropriate work. Yes, the children feel they are working and are quite serious when using loose parts. Because of the endless possibilities with this approach, children cannot fail.
Loose parts are sustainable and affordable. They may be recycled items. They support the curriculum in subject areas such as math, physical science, dramatic play, symbolic play, language, literacy, art, sensory exploration, movement, and music. They may be used indoors or outside. They allow the children a chance to use their own talents and strengths in an appropriate way for their own serious learning.
Thank you for reading, Carolyn
You might also like my loose parts blog post with a free download for literacy and math learning outdoors.
The Tinkerlab book reivew might also be of interest to people who like the Reggio or STEM learning approach.