October 2014: Loose Parts

“It is the loose parts in our environment that

empower our creativity.”
— Architect Simon Nicholson

Education Director and Facilitator Sharon Cook led a talk at a community coffee on the theory of loose parts and how we employ it at PCS.

This theory, developed by architect Simon Nicholson supports the importance of the ready availability of open-ended materials for exploring, tinkering, arranging, and rearranging, for design and play in our educational environment.  An environment rich in loose parts invites and encourages children to think creatively and innovatively.  They are items with no set instruction on how to use them, they can be combined or used with other materials to make something, or to play with, and they can be natural or synthetic.  Sometimes they might be used to create a piece of art, other times they may be used as a prop for a play schema.  

For more on Loose Parts here are some resources:

The Theory of Loose Parts, Simon Nicholson


Loose parts playground (video)




Caine’s Arcade (video)


The Maker Movement (site, event schedule, video)


Alison Gopnik


Kathryn QuigleyComment