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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET loud arguments, physical aggression, and inappropriate language. The teachers constantly assist with behavior challenges. Many children just run around and do not get involved in any activity, but if they do, they stay for only a brief time. Another center type has outdoor play areas filled with natural loose parts. The children’s quality of play is strikingly different. Children collaborate on using palm fronds for building forts, logs and eucalyptus bark to make enclosures, and tree cookies and rocks in dramatic play. The environment is filled with children’s laughter, invitations to join, shared purpose, and investigation. Teachers spend time in meaningful conversations with children and supporting children’s play. Our conclusion is that loose parts enhance social-emotional growth through deeper play while close-ended materials designed to be used in uniform or pre- scribed ways limit play potential. Learning to take risks is crucial to young children’s social-emotional develop- ment. Julia took a risk when she dragged a wooden plank over to the sandbox and angled it from the sandbox’s edge to the grass. Then she grasped the plank’s edges and pulled herself cautiously up her ramp in a bear walk. She shouted to Stephen, “Hey, don’t come over here, or you’ll be in lava!” Children benefit from taking risks in play; being overprotected can inhibit their development (Gleave 2008). When working with open-ended materials like loose parts, children take risks in moving their bodies and learning to challenge their own strength and ability. Passion, another element in social-emotional development, fuels children’s intense liking for or interest in activities, objects, or concepts. Lizzy and Tanner were passionate about potions. Each day, they darted out to the play yard, following the crushed granite path to the back corner. There, their mixing began. They filled empty kitchen pots and pans with overflowing scoops of dirt and gravel, dumped water in the dirt, turned it to mud, and then sprinkled handfuls of dried grass on top. Their play continued for several weeks while they experimented with different ingredients and made endless mud pies. Lizzy and Tanner were doing what interested, engaged, and motivated them. Open- ended materials sparked their passion. Loose parts fed their fervor for reencountering and transforming familiar materials. Zeal like theirs leads to commitment and can be shared with others. Everyone learns better when driven by passion. 10  chapter 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL