Interaction with Loose Parts
Loose parts are the set of materials that are regularly used by children during their life, which children can utilize in their games and different collective activities. Gull et al. (2019) indicate that loose parts give “an opportunity for children to express creativity through the use of materials that can be manipulated, transformed, and created through self-guided play” (p. 37). For example, an educator may use some objects from the kitchen like a spoon, pot, and tablecloth. The key characteristic of loose parts is that these materials can be of any smell, texture, shape, and purpose. Children can move them around, use in the communication process, and combine them in a variety of ways. Children can use these objects in various ways, so the educator should think about possible interaction models in advance.
This practice suits the NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards. Focusing on one element, the game with loose parts implies that “child development and the learning process occur in multiple contexts, including family, culture, language, community, and early learning setting” (Ehrenberg et al., 2021, p. 39). The reason is that the educator can organize the educational process in such a way that will allow children to experience different social roles. I can show my competence by presenting examples of how I can construct such an interaction between children in order to make it helpful for their development. For example, children can prepare a short performance with the use of loose parts. It will make children create play settings by themselves, which is applicable to the principle of NAEYC to develop “multiple social identities” (Ehrenberg et al., 2021, p. 42). All in all, the game with loose parts can be redefined in many ways, suiting the needs of different children. The way how loose parts can look like one can see in Appendix A.
Foreign Language Learning Through Cartoons
Another way to approach the development of kids in early childhood is to create the lessons that will start their interest in foreign language learning. Such a way of learning is applicable for the learning centers that are specialized in foreign languages, for example, French or German. The idea is that the educator will show the most popular cartoons, which all children know, in a different language. Actually, it is easy to organize because Youtube is full of different examples of such movies. The most popular of them is the cartoon Peppa Pig that millions of children watch all around the world. After watching the most popular episodes of that cartoon, the educator can remind children about the simple words that were used there. For example, the teacher can scroll the recording of the episode to the place where that word was said and ask children to guess the meaning of it.
Such kind of lesson is both quite entertaining and applicable to the standards of the NAEYC. In fact, it addresses the 1a standard to “understand the developmental <…> across physical, cognitive, social and emotional, and linguistic domains, including bilingual/multilingual development” (Ehrenberg et al., 2021, p. 39). Although this phrase is mostly about the development of cultural and language competencies among educators, it can be also interpreted as an appeal for the development of linguistic skills. The educators can show their competence in understanding the way how such foreign language learning can be applied by showing their language certificate and preparing the set of cartoons for the language studying. As a specialist, the educator should understand “the critical role of play” and base the learning style on the “multiple sources of evidence” (research articles and videos of cartoons for children). The artifact for the use can be found on Youtube: for example, Peppa Wutz | Das Schulfest Zusammenschnitt | Peppa Pig Deutsch Neue Folgen Cartoons für Kinder or Peppa Wutz | Zusammenstellung von Folgen | Peppa Pig Deutsch Neue Folgen | Cartoons für Kinder.
Ehrenberg, P., Harrill, M., Woolston, M. (2021). Ensuring quality in early childhood education professional preparation programs. NAEYC Accreditation.
Gull, C., Bogunovich, J., Goldstein, S. L., & Rosengarten, T. (2019). Definitions of loose parts in early childhood outdoor classrooms: A scoping review. International Journal of Early Childhood Environmental Education, 6(3), 37-52.