Why open ended resources?

If you ever come to visit us here at Little Rascals you will notice that we have lots of what we call “open ended” resources. Some might call it rubbish but we know different. We understand the endless learning opportunities that such resources offer. Unlike standard toys, which often have one specific use. Open ended resources provide children with opportunities to really think cognitively and use their imagination – skill that are all to often lost in childhood today. With these resources the possibilities are endless. What looks like a pile of cardboard boxes, plastic crates and empty toilet rolls can soon be made into the most magnificent space rocket journeying to the moon. I am sure that every parent has, at some point, spend vast amounts of money on the latest state of the art toy, only to discover that the child is far more interested in the cardboard box in which it was delivered.

Friedrich Froebel was a German educationalist who’s worked spanned from 1782 – 1852.  His research taught us that children learn best through self-activity, talk and play. Although this is widely accepted in early years today, back then he was very much a ‘man before his time’. Froebel believed that play is the highest level of child development and felt that it is essential to give children the freedom to choose, take control, explore, create, imagine and go beyond thinking about the ‘here and now’ – opportunities that open ended resources offer in abundance.

At Little Rascals we very much embrace Froebels theories and believe that such resources provide children with the opportunity to explore all of the states of play that he refers to. Play is a non-negotiable way of how we work with children and we are continuously striving to provide new and inspiring resources. When children’s learning is self directed, for example choosing to make a giant spiders web out of wooden blocks and string, we are allowing them to explore their interests and build upon what they already know and can do.  With resources that have no limit we can teach the children how to think instead of what to think.

When playing with open ended resources children become scientists, experimenting and testing out their theories, challenging thinking and beginning to understand that one material can be used to symbolise something else.

Such resources afford children the opportunities to think critically, and deepen their understanding of the world around them. So ……….next time you are throwing away your old cardboard tubes, empty yoghurt pots or cardboard boxes. Stop and think about what else they could become with a little imagination. And if you can’t use them at home, I know some Little Rascals who will be very happy to take them off your hands!

To arrange a visit to one of our nurseries, call 01664 850577.
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