There’s a new kid on the block. Shine the light on infants and toddlers as the phenomenal learners, scientists, communicators, relationship builders, intrepid explorers of the world and preschool children play individual human beings that we now know them to be. Why a new page just for babies?
They are the most critical years in shaping the brain’s architecture. They are the foundation that shapes children’s future health, happiness, growth, development and learning achievement at school, in the family and community, and in life in general. Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in life. Unique years deserve a unique page! I was out walking today with the very lovely Juliet Robertson from Creative Star Learning who is in town sharing her passion and expertise with educators around Australia.
We started talking loose parts, as you do. I was reminded of a red and blue plastic slide that we had at my old preschool. It is one you see in backyards all over the place, and I always felt that being plastic and a bit naff it was out of place in our natural setting. Long time readers of this blog will know that I have long been a fan of the theory of loose parts.
My experience at a preschool rich in loose parts showed me that children’s play is enriched in ways almost too many to list when children have time, freedom and access to an array of interesting, opened ended materials both indoors and outdoors. Emmi Pikler ignited a flame that changed the lives of the young children at Loczy, a home for children in Budapest, and continues to inspire parents and educators to this day. Magda Gerber, mentored by Emmi Pikler, traveled to Los Angeles and carried the flame with her. Approach encourages infants and adults to trust each other, learn to problem solve, and embrace their ability for self-discovery. When allowed to unfold in their own way and in their own time, children discover and inspire the best in themselves and in others. The time has come to breath some life back into this blog.
And what better way to kick start things than an tribute to my love affair with the humble pallet. As anyone who works with the budget in an early childhood setting knows only too well, money never stretches far enough. And even if it did, the most interesting materials and resources tend to be those that are found and reused in creative ways, or real life objects uncovered at garage sales or Op shops. 10 from a nursery or recycling centre, the pallet is an open ended resource that can be put to use in a learning environment in a myriad of ways. The clever folk at Oac Child Care have adapted pallets for use in a number of interesting ways. Using one pallet, or two joined together a sheet of ply has been attached to the top and painted with blackboard paint.
Lockable wheels have been added to the base, and voila! Perfect for indoor and outdoor spaces, it can be a chalk board, a table, a play surface for imaginative play scenes, a place to sit on, climb on or jump off. It pays to be choosy when selected the right pallet for your project. Rinse well, and allow to completely dry. Remove or saw down any nails that are protruding from the wood.
What have you created for your children at home or in an early childhood setting using pallets? The kids like to use ours as a stage, or forts but we have also made tables, balance beams and planters with them here. I love the pallet houses featured above! What a great blog post to come back to life with, Jenny! Thanks for including my water run.
Being a bit of a pallet junkie myself, I’ve a couple more blog posts on the theme. The place even had students on internships creating things from pallets! My word, you have hit the blog running my dear! What a fab post I am in inspiration heaven here! Thanks so much for including my kitchen and pallet post. They truly are such a marvelous thing aren’t they? We have 2 currently sitting in the front yard awaiting an ideanow I have many, thanks for such a great post, it’s lovely to have you back.
Also my mum works for the company that makes that blue pallet. Before using a pallet for a project, especially for kids, better check whether it has been chemically treated or whether it’s safe. Thank you so much for an amazing post, you have inspired me beyond words and solved so many problems, pallets may have been the thing I have been looking for to regenerate a building that could be an amazing play space. This blog is fully fabulous in all aspects. I am definitely coming back again for additional contents of yours. Wow, this is such lots of wonderful idea. I haven’t ever thought that we can use the pallets for so many purposes like that.