Open-Ended Learning

Our SK and Grade 3 Learning Buddies spent the afternoon outdoors enjoying the sunshine, and an exploration with “loose parts”. Creating their self-portrait was the goal, but the process of creating was just as important, or even more, as their outcome.

While product-based art focusses on how the end-result should look, process-based creations value the child’s experience as they are creating, exploring the materials, and trying different arrangements and configurations. Loose parts can be rocks, corks, sticks, bark, feathers, pinecones, and pretty much any scrap of nature or random pieces and parts that intrigue and spark interest!

Architect Simon Nicholson developed the “Theory of Loose Parts” back in the 1970’s, and it is currently a widely held practice in early education today. By offering an environment that is rich in open-ended materials, the children can engage, experiment, construct and invent. Loose parts invite the child to create their own definition of what’s possible, and our SK – Grade 3 Learning Buddies had an exciting time making connections.

Open-ended materials lend themselves to playful and joyful exploration, but they also encourage imagination, creativity and even problem-solving skills so that learning can become richer and more complex.

The famous quote by Emerson about, “it’s about the journey, not the destination” is a lesson to behold in education, and everyday!