Using recycled materials in Early years settings

At The Curiosity Approach we promote the use of recycled materials and loose parts  in play. To fill our Early years settings with rescued and reclaimed items, resources  and furniture. We are huge advocates of visiting charity shops, scrap stores and gaining materials and resources for car boots or recycle centres, where items can be gathered, collected and gained at a minimal cost or for free. 

We are also inspired by the work of Loris Malaguzzi , Loris Malaguzzi was an Italian educator and the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. He was also a strong advocate for sustainability and environmental education, and he was involved in the development of the Remida network of creative reuse centers.

Malaguzzi believed that children should be encouraged to explore, experiment, and create using a wide range of materials, including recycled and repurposed materials. He saw the Remida centers as important resources for educators and artists, providing them with access to a diverse range of materials that could be used to inspire creativity and promote sustainability.

In particular, Malaguzzi saw the Remida centers as important places for children to learn about sustainability and the importance of reducing waste. He believed that by encouraging children to use recycled and repurposed materials in their creative projects, they would develop a deeper understanding of the value of resources and the impact of human activities on the environment.

Malaguzzi's ideas have had a significant influence on the development of the Remida network, which has grown to include centres  in many countries around the world.
The term REMIDA Centres have often been ‘  loosely translated   to refer to  King Midas . Whereby King Midas had an ability to turn whatever he touched into gold. 
Similarly, the Remida centers are focused on transforming discarded materials into valuable resources, those intelligent resources through creative reuse. The idea is to promote sustainability and encourage people to see the value in things that might otherwise be considered waste.

At The Curiosity Approach we believe children need to play using loose parts and open ended resources, those wondrous recycled materials that normally would end up in rubbish bins and ultimately waste sites and land fills. 

Let us be sustainable, help children to understand sustainability protecting this planet for future generations to come. 

Research was conducted by Cheng and Lee (2018) on the benefits of using recycled materials in early years settings.In their study, Cheng and Lee compared the play behaviours and creativity levels of children who played with conventional toys and those who played with recycled materials. The study involved 288 children between the ages of three and six years old from three different early years settings in Hong Kong.

The researchers found that children who played with recycled materials engaged in more open-ended play and were more likely to engage in creative and imaginative play behaviors, such as pretending and storytelling. They also found that children who played with recycled materials had higher levels of creativity overall than those who played with conventional toys.

This study provides evidence for the benefits of using recycled materials in early years settings for promoting creativity and imaginative play. It suggests that providing children with open-ended materials, such as recycled materials, can foster their creativity and promote their development in these areas.

It is important to note that this study was conducted in a specific cultural and geographic context, and further research is needed to determine if these findings are generalizable to other settings and populations. Nonetheless, it provides valuable insight into the potential benefits of using recycled materials in early years settings for promoting children's creativity and imagination.

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