There’s glue all over the table, water color spilling to the floor, crayons lost amongst it all. One child is squeezing all of the paint out of the bottle while another is making lines up and down her arms with a green marker. It’s about 10 am in the toddler room at The Nest. Our dedicated art time would almost look like a free-for-all to an outsider but we teachers see serious work happening.
Everyday we are learn more about our diverse class through our “loose parts share days”. On these days our the children present their loose parts to the class. Each child has the opportunity to share, sort, and display their items on the loose parts table, located in our art studio. The loose parts are made available to the class to use in any of their creative endeavors.
Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Bankstreet Infancy Institute with four of my colleagues. For those of you who may not know, Bankstreet College of Education is one of the premiere graduate schools for progressive early education in the United States and is located in NYC. It is rare as an Infant/Toddler teacher to attend a professional development workshop that can be applied to the age that I work with, because most people look at “Early Childhood Education” as pertaining to children ages 3-5. The reality is that this isn’t even half true- early childhood education pertains to children ages Birth through 8. Furthermore, 90% of the brain is already developed by age 4! So why are our infants and toddlers constantly getting the short end of the education stick?!