Play - a valuable learning tool

Play - a valuable learning tool

  • Play can be a valuable learning tool

There’s a time for play and a time for study, at least that’s the traditional way of thinking, but a new Cambridge research centre recognises that play can be a valuable learning tool.

The Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL), established with a donation from the LEGO Foundation, is conducting a thorough exploration of the role of play in early learning.

PEDAL will be led by the LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning. The announcement of a LEGO Professor being appointed at Cambridge caused much excitement and prompted applications from young LEGO enthusiasts (see below). However, contrary to popular belief the LEGO Professor won’t be developing new LEGO bricks but conducting research into how to equip children with skills such as problem solving, team work and self-regulation, skills that will help with personal development and learning beyond the schoolroom.

Quality in learning means not just great test scores, but also building the skills that underpin learning throughout a lifetime.

Hanne Rasmussen, CEO of the LEGO Foundation

Understanding play

The LEGO Foundation funding allows for the permanent endowment of a professorship and the provision of support and research staff for an initial three year period. Research will focus on discovering which elements of home and school life are conducive to play, and the role of play in early learning and emotional well-being. Work will also be undertaken to try and understand the underlying brain processes involved in play, how it develops through childhood and what role it could have in school. Ultimately, the Foundation’s work will help to identify the true value of play in development and as an educational tool.

My name is Joshua Smith. I’m 8 years old. I hear that you need a lego professer. I would be happy to be the professer. Since I live in the United States I was wondering if I could do online classes. I know the history of minifigurs, I know part of the history of the lego company, I know about lego motors, I know about the lego themes: city, ninjago, star wars and ninja turtles. Thank you.

Joshua Smith, 8

Read more

Find out more about the Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development & Learning.


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