October 29, 2019

The Power of Playful Learning

Last week, four floors down from the PoP club house (as we fondly call our office space at Project Zero), our team gathered in Askwith Hall to attend a panel called The Power of Playful Learning. Part of the Askwith Forum -- a series of public lectures at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that focus on important topics in education -- this particular panel brought together friends and thought leaders in the field of play and learning:

Susan Harris MacKay, pedagogical director of the Museum Center for Learning and Opal School at Portland Children’s Museum

Bo Stjerne Thomsen, vice-president and chair of Learning through Play at the LEGO Foundation

Lynneth Solis, senior research manager at Project Zero (and PoP researcher)

Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

from left: Ben, Susan, Bo, Lynneth, Jack

Moderated by PoP’s own Ben Mardell, the panelists considered the role of play in education; pivotal moments or stories from their work; whether playful learning is appropriate for all children; and if, in these serious times, play is what we really need. They shared stories from the classroom, noted systemic movements around play and learning, impressed upon us the importance of considering cultural context when thinking and talking about play, and reminded us that empathy and collaborative skills are as hard wired as any other skills to be promoted in school. Serious topics addressed by a playful panel!

The Forum was live-streamed and can now be found online. Check it out!