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Fabulous Free + Found

I admit it: I steal; I scavenge; I can't walk past a skip without peering into it. And I blame my mum.

As a child, the principles of 'waste not, want not' and 'refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle' were instilled into me by my mum (Hi Mum! <waves>), who was waaaaay ahead of her time when it came to environmental issues. The result is my addiction to charity shops, an ability to chop up and sew pretty much anything into anything else, and a possibly unhealthy attitude to other people's cast offs.

In 2014, Bloomsbury Featherstone invited me to share my passion for 'free and found' loose parts resources by writing a book for their eternally popular 'Little Book of...' series. To share the concept more widely, I created a half day / twilight CPD session, initially aimed at early years practitioners but subsequently delivered, with a playtime focus, to primary teachers and TAs.

The CPD has two distinct elements: a 'how to' part, introducing the practicalities of free and found loose parts (and why they're so brilliant) and a 'let's do it' part, using the extensive PLL collection of (ahem) treasure to explore how idiosyncratic objects might be used within outdoor learning and play. Everything in the collection has been donated, borrowed, acquired, liberated from a skip or purchased for next-to-nothing from a pound shop, jumble sale or car booty.

We ask participants to share their current priorities, and use those to organise them into small groups with similar interests. They're then able to collaborate and conjure up playful learning scenarios using whatever fell out of the PLL shed and into the PLL car boot at the start of the day. As a whole group, we talk about Risk Benefit Assessment of free and found resources and activities, think about how to plan embed a culture of free and found resource collections into the school or setting.

This CPD course is hugely fun, but with a really purposeful agenda; it can be delivered in your school or setting, or as a workshop during a conference or event. It would be ideal if you're working on Eco-Schools, Outdoor Classroom Day or considering ways to enrich and improve playtimes.

Please do get in touch if you'd like to find out more.


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