Video format will resume next blog! Thank you for your understanding.
Make sure to grab your “Plan for Planning Checklist” in the show notes - this will help support you to get and stay organized with all the loose parts for creating learning experiences.
Let’s get started!
I remember the frustration, confusion, and doubt when it came to planning. Am I choosing the right interest? What 20 activities can we do around this for the next few weeks? How can I make my entire environment look like this interest? These were my overwhelming thoughts around planning. I would spend hours searching for ideas, prepping materials, recreating my environment. And don’t get me wrong, I love to create setups and learning environments, but I was doing it all wrong and with the wrong intentions. But this is how I was taught. I thought I was doing the right thing but it didn’t feel right inside. And the children definitely didn’t fully engage or benefit either. I took a step back and said, “This isn’t working. Why am I continuing to engage in this kind of experience when no one is benefiting from it?”
PLAN FOR TIME
You are taking the pressure off to plan a new experience each day when all children need to repeat, repeat, repeat in order to continue developing connections in their brains. This also allows you the opportunity to create new learning experiences around individual children or small groups. This might sound overwhelming but, when you give more time and space for children to engage in their play and interests. it gives you more time to observe, reflect, and intentionally plan.
PLAN FOR FLEXIBILITY
They didn’t engage with one item and it was never touched by my preschoolers. I was shocked and, to be honest, a little frustrated. But I decided to reflect on why they weren’t engaging with it. My group of preschoolers needed to be immersed in their role play, not use small pieces to act out their ideas. It took me a long time to finally get this and, when I did, their imaginative play went to whole new levels for weeks. I was mesmerized by this. Embracing our emotions, reflecting on what is and isn’t working, and using these insights will aid us to grow as educators and plan learning experiences with deep meaning and intention for our group of children.
PLAN FOR ACCESSIBILITY
Now that you are planning and collecting all of your magical loose parts, you may be asking yourself if you are a hoarder or just need to get organized. I’ve been there! Thank goodness I have a very loving husband who accepts what I bring home and goes with the flow. Rebekah asked, "How do you stay organized when the loose parts are not out at the moment?"
Planning for planning will go a long way. Loose parts are magical and, with the vast kinds of items, getting organized is a must. Take inventory after some time and see if any items can be rotated into deeper storage that is not as accessible and replace it with other items. We change out materials in the learning environment, so why not in our teacher areas as well?
Well that is it for this episode on “Loose Parts and Preschoolers.” I encourage you to leave your setup out for a week and to see how the play evolves and what new ideas might emerge. This will allow you to plan for deeper play and other interests that come up. Make sure to grab your “Plan for Planning Checklist” for this episode and share your curated teacher areas in the Facebook group. If you liked this video, please give it a like and share, and subscribe to get all the episodes. You will find all the resources I talked about in the show notes below. I will see you next time for the fourth video in this series, “Loose Parts & School Agers.” Thanks for watching!
I am an Early Childhood Consultant and very passionate about supporting and inspiring my fellow Educators. I will share my reflections and experiences about implementing my philosophy, views, and ideas into my practice.