Task 3K – Where are you now?

As expected when I was considering what practitioner enquiry meant to me earlier on in this programme, at this stage, I find myself with more questions and wonderings than I started with. I began with the question, ‘In what way does the format of ‘loose parts play’ need to change to provide progression of creativity and problem solving skills at P1, P4, P7?’. I have trialled three different ways of organising ‘loose parts play’ and have been able to get the opportunity to discuss this with the children involved. The three different organisation methods were complete free play, guided play from a class teacher and a set challenge/task. My prediction had been that the younger children would respond better to the free play as this fitted with their style of curriculum more, that the guided play would suit the middle school and set tasks would be preferred by the upper school. My findings were interesting and the results of the analysis of these findings has got my challenging my whole perspective of the delivery/use of ‘loose parts play’. The P7 pupils enjoyed the guided play most but thought that they probably learnt the most from the set task. I now question whether this feedback was because of their set idea of what learning looks like and whether they think it needs to have a correct end result to be learning. The P1 group found the free play very challenging and needed more guidance and help. The preferred the task when it had a clear outcome from the teacher leading it. However, I wonder whether this was because of the loose parts they were given and whether these lend themselves more to engineering/design play rather than role play that the pupils are more familiar with. The P4 group loved all the types of play but preferred guided and task play more than free play. I am still to look more in depth at the specific comments made by the pupils and also the observation sheets that I used to track the skill development opportunities during the play. The immediate action I have taken from these results is to hold of launching the ‘loose parts play’ into playgrounds at play time and instead am working with teachers to use guided tasks and set tasks during class time as a way of introducing this style of play to the children.

3 Responses to “Task 3K – Where are you now?”


  • This is quite an eye-opener for me too – would you mind me sharing your results with our Loose-Parts Play co-ordinator? I’d like to compare her views with your experiences to satisfy my own professional curiosity!

    I’ve had to smile at your decision to hold off launching loose parts at playtime… we have put it into playtime, and then had to get extra supported sessions with classes to help children engage with the idea! It’s such a mind-shift for children and staff to get the idea of how to make loose-parts useful, enjoyable, safe and sustainable! What do other teachers at your school think about how it’s going? When they would feel ready for it to be part of playtime?

    • Of course – it would be great to compare experiences.

      As with all new initiatives/concepts, we have some staff that are very excited about this but some who are quite unsure. Hopefully we can work with pupils and staff to create something that works for us.

  • This has been such an interesting enquiry to follow, Faye.I have heard teachers asking very similar to questions to you about the children’s learning and how to best organise resources and guidance.I’m looking forward to your final thoughts on free/guided/set and how you will take it forward, after you have looked at the comments and skills sheets.

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