As we begin to select the toys we want to offer at our school, we are taking into consideration so many things. First of all, we want to be sure that it is safe. Non-toxic, safe to be explored in all the ways young children desire…in the mouth and in the hands.
Our second consideration: How does this toy serve children’s developmental needs? In our opinion, a toy that is open-ended draws a child’s attention for so much longer than those toys labeled “educational” by today’s marketers. Sometimes, it is the material that isn’t even a “toy” which will be the most useful. As just about every parent knows, the box and the wrapping is often the most enthralling part of a new toy.
We want to be sure that we give children opportunities to develop naturally, on their own timetable, while exploring simple, safe, and often natural materials. We are excited to observe how children will explore each material, given ample time and opportunity. As Magda Gerber wrote in Dear Parent: Caring For Infants With Respect, we’d like to help raise active explorers. The last thing we want is to create a situation where a passive child is watching an active toy. It should always be the child who is bringing the toy to life.