Chain Saws - Loose Parts Style.

Sometimes when I am outside with the children, I am in the right place at the right time.  And I have my camera.  And I can quickly pull it out of my pocket and set it up to capture just the cutest, awesomest image ever!

Didn't he just nail the chain saw sound?

Now I want to share what I learned from witnessing this cute awesomeness.

I took my little group of four out into the yard first that day.  It was nice to have a bit more freedom in the yard for a while before everyone else came out. The toddlers ran here and there and played with whatever they wanted.  At one point a little boy found a piece of wood and for him it became a perfect chain saw.  He clearly has seen someone operate this tool at some point and he was ready to incorporate it into his play.  Perhaps to construct his own creative narrative on a past experience.

At our daycare, at least in our toddler room, we are somewhat interested in following or learning about the Reggio philosophy.  This philosophy starts from the assumption that children are competent and capable of constructing their own learning. They are capable of communicating in many different ways: their play is language and their language is play.  

The environment is a source of inspiration. I love that the toddler staff agree that having random pieces of wood lying around are valuable toys for imaginative play.

No words were spoken between the the first child playing "chain saw" and the second one.  The second child didn't make a sound while he "cut" the tree but he clearly knew he wanted to try cutting the tree also.

Soon there were three little's using saws.  Their game spread out from the tree into the yard.  They took their saws to the top of the hill.  Climbing and carrying pieces of wood at the same time was hard work and they soon put them down and moved onto a different scenario.  

I love how the learning was shared by one little guy doing something and others imitating and sharing the experience.  None of them used words. They just followed each other.  Parallel play at its finest.


By listening to children, by generating the fertile conditions for their ideas to be born and grow and by sharing these with others we can change the paradigm of education to one that sees the creative, thinking child who is capable of ideas worth sharing.
Debi Kayte-Hartland

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