RICHLAND ACADEMY

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Materials: Loose Parts

As the JK children begin to explore ‘Materials’, Mrs. Black recalled a significant book by Cathy Weisman Topal and Lella Gandini (1999), who wrote Beautiful Stuff: Children Learning with Found Materials. This book took shape, as the authors began chronicling the experiences of teachers, inspired by the educators of Reggio Emilia, as they explored the potential of materials in learning environments for young children.To the young child the world is full of materials to touch, discover, and explore. To find, collect, sort and use materials is to embark on a special kind of adventure. For adults, gathering materials means rediscovering the richness and beauty in natural, unexpected, and recyclable objects that are all around us, but not often noticed.One way to rediscover our own creative impulses is to see possibilities in material. Children possess a natural openness to the potential of materials. When adults become aware of this process, they find ways to watch and listen to children. Children and adults become collaborators as they discover, collect, sort, arrange, experiment, create, construct, and think with materials. 

“The goal is to allow children to become fluent with materials 
– as if materials were a language.”

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