My Search for Inspiring Materials

Sometimes I find myself feeling inspired to find materials and imagine the possibilities that would exist if they were placed in the classroom and the ways children would explore them? Or the ways educators would create provocations?

To satisfy my urge I visit thrift stores (in particular: Value Village). By the time I’m parking my car I can’t wait to get in see what beautiful things I happen to stumble upon. One thing however, I have learned/discovered about my visits to Value Village is: there doesn’t ever have to be a plan or a specific set of materials you are searching for, the spontaneity of finding what you least expected becomes very inspiring.

Many materials used in a Reggio-inspired environment are common and easily found in craft/art/hardware stores or indeed, out in nature. It’s when you start to think differently about learning, about what activities or explorations you present to your child, that you start to see the potential in these materials as tools for learning and discovery. Like little treasures for the child to explore, presented with an air of wonder. – Kate, An Everyday Story

Below I’ve included some of the beautiful ways educators have found a way to respect the complexity and beauty of the materials. Also for the intelligence and creativity that children bring by exploring with such found materials. By looking at the photographs I wonder about the stories educators had planned when they first presented the materials for children? Also, how did the educators finally interpret what the children did with the materials?

My hope is that this post has inspired you to look in unfamiliar places for materials and be open to accept the journey of inspiration.  What have been some of your finds? I’d love to read about your places of discovery.


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