Tuesday, August 9, 2011

mess vs a rich play environment

The boys' police station is starting to take shape.  

This project ebbs and flows - a manic hour of work in the morning and then the work site may sit untouched until the next day.  It may look haphazard but rest assured they know where everything belongs and why.

Now I'm a bit of a neat freak.  And I'm also aware that adult perceptions of what a preschool playground should look like might not necessarily include a pile of  'stuff' smack bang in the middle of it.

But everyday as I see the rewards of children happily engaged in long periods of imaginative and creative play I become more convinced that loose parts are essential to creating a rich outdoor play environment.  

A little bit of 'mess' is a small price to pay.

I'm not entirely sure why, but it seems terribly important in this version of the police station to tie everything together.  It could be a trap - they like a good trap.  Or it could be that they just love tying knots.

That's the beauty of loose parts - they help children practice new skills, make choices, be independent, imagine, create, invent, organise and learn how to use objects in different ways as they get older. 

For other 'police station' related posts:

Out with the police and in with the mermaids
What do children learn when they play outdoors

What about you?  Does 'mess' do your head in?  Do you worry about parent opinion?

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