Simon Nicholson

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Simon Nicholson is known in the early learning world for his Theory Of Loose Parts.

According to a detailed write up by

  • “Not much can be gleaned from an internet search around Nicholson’s life. He was born in London, one of triplets in 1934. It is likely that his upbringing will have been unorthodox, given that his parents were Barbara Hepworth, an internationally renowned sculptor, and Ben Nicholson, also a well-known artist. It also suggests that Simon’s comments about everyone being born creative and inventive are particularly pertinent, in the context of the hard work, drive and passion of his mother and her outstanding works. One biography suggests that the relationship between Simon and Barbara was difficult. She cut him out of her will because he sold a sculpture she had given him”
  • “Simon received a scholarship to attend Dartington Hall. In 1953, he spent a year studying sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. Between 1954-57 he read archaeology and anthropology at Trinity College, Cambridge.”
  • “In 1971, Nicholson returned to the UK and took up a lecturing position with the Open University where he remained until 1989.”
  • “In 1990, aged 55, Simon Nicolson died from alcohol poisoning. Whilst this is a tragic ending to his life, hopefully his family and friends are proud of his positive impact and legacy which has enabled thousands of children to be active participants in modifying and designing their play landscapes and to enjoy countless hours of free play with loose parts.”1
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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.


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