Q & A with CST Learning Project Finalist: Paving the Way for Loose Parts Play

Loose parts play learning for children to improve active and creative learning.

Q&A with Christine Spence – Paving the way for Loose Parts Play

What is your idea and how will it help children learn?

Our proposal is rooted in the belief that in order for change to happen, a new idea must be simple. Installing large storage containers on school grounds makes learning outside easier – the tools, or ‘loose parts’, are right where they are needed. With access to an expanded array of resources (including things like plastic tubes, tarps, cardboard boxes, wooden spools, bike tires, magnifying glasses, measuring tapes…the list is endless!), educators and students alike can experiment, take risks and learn in a natural environment.  

The benefits to children are many.  In addition to improved self-regulation and mental health, loose parts play provides opportunities for creativity, communication, collaboration, problem solving and teamwork. It engages and honours the needs of different types of learners. It is active, social and can be self-directed or guided by an educator. It can take place during classroom time with teachers or during recess.

Why do you think your idea is important/what problem does it solve that exists in education?

Schools are filled with talented educators who are keen to put new ideas into practice. Unfortunately, the school environment can’t always support their work due to budget constraints, timetabling and other competing priorities. Providing easy access to resources outside opens the door to innovative teaching practices and provides children with a balance to their structured, technology driven lives. Outdoor resources are accessible at any time of the day and during any part of the curriculum.  This idea supports the transition from teacher-led to student-driven learning and enables unstructured play. It gives educators more space to explore STEAM related concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) and is strongly connected to the maker movement.  It also tackles the challenge of getting children more active.

What did you like most about your experience with the CST Learning Project?

My favourite part of the experience was the process of engaging others in the excitement of the contest. It was incredible to watch how the voting changed day to day as more and more people got on board. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to best promote the idea and was rewarded with supporters from well beyond the school community. Everyone was excited to be a part of something like this and I was thrilled when I was able to communicate that we made it to the finals!

Q & A with CST Learning Project Finalist: Paving the Way for Loose Parts Play | CST Blog | C.S.T. Consultants Inc.


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