We Love Loose Parts

At EtonHouse we are Reggio Emilio inspired. We see the environment we provide for our children, as central to their learning. We refer to it as the third teacher, parents being the first teacher, teachers’ the second and the environment we provide as the third.

The way a learning space is designed can promote or inhibit independence, play, collaboration, choice and creativity.

We are working hard to provide environments that connect our children to nature, with the minimal use of plastics and commercially provided toys.

Loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. Loose parts can be used alone or combined with other materials. There is no set of specific directions for materials that are considered loose parts. The child is the direction.

Loose parts can be natural or synthetic. In on outdoor environment we can provide an array of loose parts for use in play:


Loose parts create endless possibilities and invite creativity. For example, if a child picks up a rock and starts to play, most likely that rock can become anything the child wants it to be. Imagination, creativity, curiosity, desire, and need are the motivation of loose parts.

When children interact with loose parts, they enter a world of ‘what if’ that promotes the type of thinking that leads to problem solving and theoretical reasoning. Loose parts enhance children’s ability to think imaginatively and see solutions, and they bring a sense of adventure and excitement to children’s play (Daly and Beloglovsky, 2015).