The big idea
World of Stuff is an action research project which seeks to motivate and inspire early years educator to provide creative opportunities for children to engage in creative and critical thinking. The project uses reclaimed and intelligent materials as open-ended resources for children to play with and explore the ‘big ideas’ or concepts that shape their world.
The project has been inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early education and reflects the philosophy that children are strong, powerful, curious and competent learners.
We aim to develop and sustain excellence in the early years through creative enquiry and research into how children learn and think. Settings that become members of the World of Stuff become part of a learning community in which colleagues share their ideas and understandings about children’s thinking and learning.
The Provocation Pods
We create collections, or ‘provocation pods’, which are used by member schools and early years settings to nurture, observe and analyse the characteristics of effective learning in action. There is nothing magic in the pods – just an irresistible mixture of reclaimed artefacts and natural materials that have been donated or gathered from attics, skips, car boot sales and charity shops. The magic takes place when children encounter the ‘stuff’ during their play, as the resources offer infinite possibilities for children to demonstrate their extraordinary capabilities and create new understanding as they organise, adapt, imagine, create, make connections, question and hypothesise.
The majority of the pods have been created with a simple theme of ‘what sort of play and exploration might this provoke?’ but we are also developing pods that promote language and story-telling for practitioners and children to use.
Each child interacts differently with each object and, with thoughtful observation and interaction, educators tune-in to the concepts and fascinations that children express through their play.
The documentation and reflections that return with the pods to the World of Stuff centre is archived and testifies to the amazing thinking and explorations that the pods have provoked. This is used to engage practitioners in professional dialogue that explores the deep-level learning and highly creative thinking that is taking place through the objects.
Developing your practice
Although you may not be situated close enough to take an active part in the project and collect provocation pods yourself, we are happy to help develop practice and provision by sharing what we have learned and what we do. We offer workshops, seminars, centre visits, staff meetings and lectures which aim to inspire and motivate practitioners to think deeply about children’s explorations and creativity through a generous environment that offers rich opportunities to promote deep level thinking and learning. We are also keen to encourage practitioners to come together as a community of learners, to share experiences, questions and understandings.
Please contact us on 07920 082811 to talk about how you can be involved in this exciting project and way of working.