We’ve taken that a step further, and become a ‘loose parts’ kindergarten with all the children’s activities based on an educational method called SchemaPlay™
We know that children learn through their play. They use repeated patterns of behaviour called schemes that they learn from. We take notice of these behaviours and provide activities and experiences to encourage deeper learning, connections and exploration. This helps children make sense of the world of the world around them
There are several different types of scheme, covering things like making connections (joining things together), rotation (spinning things), enveloping (covering things or themselves) or trajectory (throwing things). We know that children broadly tend to play in ‘schemes’, i.e. transport, bricks and building, role play and with animals, and we link children’s patterns of behaviour to these and other interests so that they become absorbed in their learning and have high levels of involvement and wellbeing.
Does your toddler throw things? We look specifically for behaviour just like this and we know this is part of natural development. You might experience throwing food at mealtimes, this of course may be really annoying but they are exploring how things feel, how quickly things fall and how they sound when they hit the floor. Not much consolation when you’re scraping banana off the walls – but when we understand how to follow children’s schemas, we can provide opportunities that allow them to explore in a creative way. Of course that doesn’t mean that mealtimes become a time to throw food, so we acknowledge that children want to throw and say that once lunch is over we can throw some balls.
It means we have no ‘toys’!
But if that sounds a bit odd, don’t worry. There’s plenty for your child to play with. You just won’t find any pre-made, pre-determined toys here (and certainly no plastic).
Instead, the nursery is ‘seeded’ with items that your child can use for play and problem-solving in a way that interests them, developing their creativity and confidence every day.
Pre-determined toys – dolls, cars and even premade puzzles – can limit children’s creativity. But take a block of wood, some wheels and a few simple tools and an original creation can become anything and from there turn into anything!
The process and results are far more exciting for your child, and they’ll learn to explore, make, build, and problem-solve, developing self-reliance, imagination, resourcefulness and creativity.
Everything has its place, so children always know where to find things. This is important, after all, who knows when they might need some string, a pine cone or a bottle top – and for creativity to flow they will need it right there and then.
Using all these wonderful loose parts is also good for the environment, as we’re re-using and upcycling materials instead of throwing them away. Anything, from the interesting to the mundane, could form part of our plethora of open-ended equipment, so we often accept donations from our families – very handy when having a house clear out!