Carriann Marsden

I have always been passionate about making a difference to the lives of children, which motivated me to continue my own professional development. I enrolled on the Foundation Degree at Dearne Valley College having no previous experience within the Early Years sector. Whilst I felt out of my depth, learning about the ever changing world of policy and practice fascinated me and I quickly became inspired to learn more about the debates and issues that professionals within the Early Years endure. After graduating with a distinction, I then embarked on the Top Up Degree at Doncaster University and the wealth of knowledge I gained was phenomenal. Focussing my dissertation around loose part play gave me a real insight into how children learn and develop, facilitating my commitment to providing high quality teaching and learning within the Early Years sector.

ABSTRACT

This research enquiry took the form of an empirical single case study conducted within the foundation stage one class of a private day care setting. The study aimed to examine the impact loose parts play has on children’s imaginations and creativity as well as understanding the practitioners’ role in providing and facilitating loose parts play. The study reviewed research conducted around loose part play which highlighted the importance of providing natural open-ended resources within the Early Years setting to enhance children’s learning and development. This study specifically focussed on the impact loose part play has on children’s creativity due to the extensive research provided on other areas of learning and development.

The study consulted practitioners’ during a semi structured interview and determined that practitioners had a varying degree of knowledge and experience with regards to loose parts play. Observations and created images were also carried out on a group of three children to establish how they interacted with loose parts and how this facilitated their imagination, furthermore measures of practitioners’ knowledge and understanding was also captured effectively through these research methods.

This study concluded that although loose parts play had a significant impact on children’s creativity to what extent was still unclear as other factors also impacted on the way in which children’s creativity and imagination was facilitated. Furthermore, practitioners’ knowledge and understanding of loose parts play varied with different qualifications held, however other pedagogical issues also contributed to how they facilitated children’s learning and development.

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