My Loose Parts Play Enquiry – Update 1

My enquiry approach has been slightly delayed by my gathering of resources. As a school we are currently gathering donations of loose parts equipment which I intend to use to carry out my enquiry. This means that so far most of my enquiry has focused on literature.

A really useful reading that I have used to enhance my thinking has been the British Council document called ‘Unlocking a World of Potential: Core skills for learning, work and society’. This document has encouraged me to reflect on the importance of knowledge and skills as an intertwining core of education. Highlighting relevant skills in today’s world it looks at where these skills may develop in the future and why it is vital we equip pupils with these skills. From this document, I have questioned whether skills are something that should be taught, or learnt from within. My enquiring approach should help me to consider this question in more detail. If skills are learnt from within then there might not be a need for a visible progression but if they are to be taught then it is vital that a concrete progression is created.

The Education Scotland ‘Learning for Sustainability Self-evaluation and improvement framework’ has been a good tool for pulling my ideas back to why we are developing this area and how it should look when done well. Keeping this focus has given me grounding for the reasons behind my enquiry approach.

North Lanarkshire’s publication ‘This place is like a building site’ has given a good example of what loose parts play can look like when established. This has resulted in me examining more case studies through the Education Scotland website. This reading has cemented my opinion surrounding the benefits of loose parts play but still leaves me questioning more about how it differs depending on age, stage and experience.

4 Responses to “My Loose Parts Play Enquiry – Update 1”


  • It’s great that you’re adding to your enquiry focus while waiting for your loose parts equipment to take shape. I wonder how much it does differ from age to age. We’re just at the beginning of this process ourselves, and it seems to depend so much on the emotional age and interests of the child, rather than their chronological age. This week we put two hay bales in the loose parts play – the resulting hay-fest was hillarious and most of the children seemed to be behaving like much younger versions of themselves! Good old-fashioned fun!

  • Resources are key to your enquiry so don’t worry about holding off for a bit! I wonder if your continued questioning around skills comes from the fact that different documents may choose to focus on very different skills? And sometimes aspects of personality or mental attitude (e.g. resilience) are referred to as skills when that might not be helpful. If we approach skills in the way we approach knowledge, is it useful? Identify the skills (knowledge) we want to develop. Then decide how the children will demonstrate these skills (knowledge). I know you have chosen to focus on creativity and problem-solving – how will the children show those skills? It could be applying a process to other situations, identifying and solving a problem, showing persistence. And it will be interesting to see if you do think that your choice of skills can be taught or if it is a case of encouraging and providing opportunities.

  • Also Faye, you might be interested in looking at Jane Kelly’s blog in West Two group 6E. She is also looking into loose parts play and creativity!

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