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Sometimes it feels as though 'loose parts' is the new buzz word!

March 5, 2018

After my last post and several discussions with other early years educators, whereby my views were mimicked, extended and challenged, it got me thinking about a comment that was made about loose parts play being a mindset.

 

This comment was made by Carla Gull, someone who has a vast knowledge of loose parts play and, might I add, a fabulous podcast.

You can find Carla's blog here. You can also check out her facebook page and group, in addition to her podcast.

 

With no definitive definition of loose parts play used by all early years educators, or any educator for that matter, sometimes we can get hung up on arguments as to what something is and what something should be. Again, this is typical of many early years concepts (school readiness, play, provocations; should I continue?)

 

To me loose parts can be anything, but, loose parts play is about freedom, choice, creativity, independence and resilience. Instead of defining the play or containing it within a box, would the route of taking a mindset approach to loose parts play work?

 

For some, I believe it could but what is a loose parts mindset? Would this not need defining to some degree? I mean choice in itself can mean different things to different people; when I speak of choice I mean free choice whereas others may see choice as the ability to choose from a set of activities.

 

So not to be pedantic, lets take the view that we all define freedom, choice, creativity, independence and resilience in the same way. If we make these a core part of what we provide does it even matter if we use the term 'loose parts play'? If our mindset is based on all the things that encompass loose parts play then would this not just be a natural element within our provision, rather than something that needs defining?

 

Sometimes it feels as though 'loose parts' is the new buzz word in the early years but if we have a pedagogy founded on developmentally appropriate practice then hasn't loose parts play been an element in our classrooms far before we scrapped the plastic and embraced wooden slices?

 

I would love to hear your thoughts and to continue, what I believe to be a fascinating conversation.

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