photo courtesy of International School of Billund
Hello and welcome to the official blog of the Pedagogy of Play research project! In 2014, some folks from the LEGO Foundation and Project Zero, a research organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, began thinking together about learning through play. What is the role of play in empowering children to be lifelong learners? In helping them develop critical and creative thinking skills? What does school-based playful learning and teaching look and feel like? How can a culture of playful learning be cultivated and sustained in schools?
The Pedagogy of Play (PoP) project officially took shape in 2015 with a playful participatory research project based at the International School of Billund (ISB), Denmark. With a mission and vision founded on the belief that play is a core resource for how children learn, ISB was fertile ground for exploring our questions. This co-created research inspired a working set of playful learning principles, practices, and tools and the insipiration for an evolving pedagogy of play framework.
Yet we know that playful learning is shaped by culture and context -- that is, what play looks and feels like in one place is likely not the same in another. So we have begun to explore other contexts of playful learning: how learning through play might be similar or different to what emerged from ISB and what a cross-cultural pedagogy of play might look like. In 2017 we began investigating our core research questions with three schools in the Johannesburg and Pretoria regions of South Africa. In 2019, we started work with six schools in the Boston area, USA. We hope to continue this exploration in other settings as we move forward with our research.
As we dive deeper into playful learning and teaching, we find ourselves thinking deeply about everything from the relationship between play and democracy to playful dispositions (for learners and teachers). We will share thoughts, questions, and stories from the classroom, and we will feature guest bloggers along the way.
We hope this blog provides a mental playground for tinkering with ideas and building a community of playful thinkers and thoughtful players.