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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET building it and took on the roles of doctor and nurse. They playacted the experi- ences Alejandro had endured in the hospital. Rocks became pretend medication, plastic tubing attached to a shoe box became a breathing machine, and a plastic connector became Alejandro’s inhaler. This play went on for weeks. Eventually the children gravitated to other areas of play after Alejandro had relived his trau- matic experience in a gentle way. Loose Parts Are Sustainable and Economically Feasible With so many materials available for ECE classrooms, you need to make choices that maximize children’s development and make sense financially. Today teachers are often expected to provide classroom materials out of their own pockets. Happily, loose parts can often be had for free, and they offer a bonus: they encourage you, and the children’s parents, to reuse, renew, and recycle. Write a note to the children’s families asking them to collect potentially rich materials around their homes to add to the classroom. Provide a list of suggested items (small boxes, jar lids, buttons, fabric). Also, post it in the classroom or distribute it at school events. Loose Parts Support the Curriculum Loose parts offer many possibilities for open-ended learning. Especially in ECE programs where standards and ditto sheets are threatening to take over, advocate for loose parts as supports for the acquisition of skills that children are required to demonstrate when they enter kindergarten. loose parts 15 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL