Inquiring into the Roles and Responsibilities of Facilitating Loose Parts Play: A Practitioner's Perspective

  • Author / Creator
    Xavier, Adrian
  • Play, and more specifically unstructured outdoor play, is well-documented as being beneficial, and arguably essential to healthy cognitive, emotional, social and physical development. However, factors such as risk, liability and self-regulation often complicate and deter unstructured outdoor play from thriving in a school setting. Literature specific to loose parts play is burgeoning and predominantly focuses on its potential, the benefits and its impact on children’s play experiences and whole-child development (Gibson, Cornell & Gill, 2017; Houser, Roach, Stone, Turner & Kirk, 2016; Hyndman & Lester, 2015). Loose parts play and the associated research is limited on practitioner-as-researcher’s perspective of implementation. Therefore, the following self-study of practice is an inquiry into a practitioner’s experience facilitating and implementing loose parts play. The qualitative approach of self-study of practice has been chosen to frame and guide the research. Self-study supports the investigation into the intertwined nature of self and practice by closely considering the self-in-practice (Ovens & Fletcher, 2014), with a strong focus on the role of one’s personal and professional identities (Casey, Fletcher, Schaefer & Gleddie, 2018). Data has been collected via artifacts, journal entries, reflective diaries, field notes, and discussions with critical friends. The data was analyzed twice. First, performing a thematic analysis guided by Braun & Clarke’s (2012) framework, five themes from the data describe the roles and responsibilities of a loose parts play facilitator: 1. experiential learning; 2. explicit communication; 3. contextual considerations; 4. relationships and 5. reflective practice. Afterwards, two theories were used to deductively analyze the five themes: 1. the Collaborative for Social, Academic and Emotional Learning’s framework of social and emotional learning (SEL) and 2. the Joint Consortium for School Health’s 2008 framework of Comprehensive School Health (CSH). As a result, this study can benefit those who facilitate unstructured outdoor play for elementary school-aged children as the inquiry focuses on the complexities of self-in-practice encountered during a facilitator’s experiences.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.