As we return from Easter break and fingers crossed the weather becomes drier and warmer we begin to use our outdoor area even more. You may often walk through and think what on earth are those old tyres and odd bits and pieces scattered around. It can sometimes look ‘messy’ or ‘dis-organised’ so I thought I would explain a little about what our outdoors means to us.
In the 1970’s an architect called Simon Nicholson developed Loose parts theory. He said in order to be inventive and creative, children should be given access to a variety of ‘loose parts’ he likened this to children playing on a beach where the possibilities are inexhaustible . The value is in designing, discussing, negotiating and problem solving rather than the finished product.
“Free Play with loose parts ensures children develop their all -important core strength” (Claire Hewson) It is proven that children with poor gross and fine motor skills can negatively impact on their quality of life. It is therefore vital for us to plan experiences that will develop these core muscles and indeed their mental well-being. Being able to carry , lift, push and pull , sweep & stretch are the best exercises for strengthening those core essential muscles. Our children will often roll the big tyres over to where they wish to build/play, use the many planks we have to build ramps using their mathematical knowledge along the way. We encourage Active learning, as we find the children develop more focus as their play evolves into creating complex ideas. Alongside this comes their developing language as they make plans with their friends and discuss ideas. They will make links between the real world and the imaginary using their critical thinking. Giant cardboard boxes, tubes , blankets and large pegs all loose items that the children can make decisions about what and how they wish to play with them. Our staff are always nearby to ask those important open questions enabling the children to process their thinking and offer their own solution.
We are passionate about engaging the children’s creativity and we hope that by sharing our vision you will continue to encourage this at home too.