Welcome to the fourth of the series Reggio-Inspired Preschool Environments.
Over the next week we will have a little wander through:
Reggio Inspired Learning Materials
Materials have the potential to draw you in, make you want to stay a while, explore a little (or a lot), try new things, create and wonder. They also have the potential to completely turn you away. In a Reggio-inspired environment, as with many other play-based, child-led environments, the materials are carefully selected for their potential to enhance learning and discovery.
- Kate, An Everyday Story
|Flights of Whimsy|
Reggio-inspired materials are typically:
- aesthetically pleasing
- authentic (real rather than plastic, or a child's version)
|Pre K and Sharing|
They are selected to:
- respond to children's interests
- stimulate thinking
- revisit prior learning
- support creativity
- ignite curiosity
- encourage exploration
- test theories
|Using natural materials|
|Attractive selection of instruments and scarves|
Many materials found in Reggio-inspired environments are easily and cheaply sourced. Visit you local Op shops (thrift shops) for scarves, table clothes, vases, buttons, kitchen utensils, tea sets - all manner of things!
Frequent garage sales; save all those empty boxes, wrapping paper, interesting bottle tops and wash out and reuse containers; ask hardware stores for their wood offcuts or go for a treasure hunt out and about in nature.
Ask families to bring in interesting materials from home, whether they are items that that can be reused, nature collections from a trip to the beach or instruments or cooking utensils that reflect their family culture.
|Wherever possible, choose real over replica.|
Places like Reverse Garbage in Sydney or Resource Rescue in Melbourne are a virtual treasure trove of intriguing, open ended materials full of play opportunities.
Think outside as well as in. Natural materials, such as tree stumps or tree cookies, lend themselves beautifully to creative and imaginative play. Old kitchen utensils can find a new home outdoors:
|Make and Play|
|Reggio Inspired Ning|
|Stomping in the Mud|
Children are experts in seeing the potential in these objects. With the simple addition of common objects such as corks, bottle caps, material scraps and ceramic tiles to a block area play can flourish:
|Reggio Inspired Ning|
Light boxes are popular in Reggio inspired classrooms to explore light, colour and shadow:
|A Woven Education|
A range of different mirrors can be used as backgrounds, surfaces, loose parts, tiles for clay or other art experiences and investigations:
|An Everyday Story|
Attention is paid to how materials are displayed. Clear containers, woven baskets and wooden trays all provide a neutral backdrop that doesn't detract from the materials within.
|Top: Journey into Early Childhood Bottom: My Classroom Transformation and A Woven Education|
|Journey into Early Childhood|
|Little Preschool on the Prairie|
If you'd like more inspiration, here are a few places to visit: