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Learning to Play and Playing to Learn

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A free one-day joint conference from the PEDAL (Play in Education, Development & Learning) and REAL (Research for Equitable Access & Learning) Research Centres at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. This conference will investigate the role of play-based learning in low income countries, as well as in low resource settings within middle and higher income countries. It will include keynote speeches, panel discussions and poster presentations to explore:

how play-based learning is undertaken in different settings and its contribution to early learning;

measurement of play-based learning, including tracking progress in the context of Sustainable Development Goal targets, with a focus on early childhood education and early learning;

the future of play-based learning in a changing world – looking at care-givers, curricula and learning for the 21st Century.

The conference will bring together researchers, policy actors and non-governmental organisations with the aim of drawing lessons on play-based learning across settings, as well as identifying variations between contexts.

Programme for the day

9.00-9.30 Registration (Tea and coffee on arrival)

9.30-10.30 Introductions and moderator: Paul Ramchandani, PEDAL Centre, University of Cambridge

Opening keynote address:
Charlotte Watts, DFID
Erum Mariam, BRAC, Bangladesh

10.30-11.15 LEGO challenge & coffee break

11.15-12.30 Brief presentations (10mins) and discussion

Panel 1: How does play contribute to early learning in low income settings?

Ivelina Borisova, UNICEF

Kevin Watkins, Save the Children

Esinam Avornyo, PEDAL Centre, University of Cambridge

Moderator: Sarah Bouchie, LEGO Foundation

12.30-14.00 Lunch and Poster presentation

14.00-15.15 Brief presentations (10mins) and discussion

Panel 2: Measuring and assessing play

Ben Alcott, REAL Centre, University of Cambridge

John Jerrim, UCL , Institute of Education

Jenny Gibson, PEDAL Centre, University of Cambridge

Moderator: Anna Vignoles, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

15.15-16.00 University Primary School challenge & coffee break

16.00-17.15 Discussion

Panel 3: Looking to the future of play

Sara Ruto, PAL Network

Bo Stjerne Thomsen, LEGO Foundation

Tom McBride, Early Intervention Foundation

Moderator: Amy Potter, DFID

17.15-17.30 Closing remarks

Pauline Rose, REAL Centre, University of Cambridge

17.30-19.00 Drinks reception

The day will be live streamed via this link:

This talk is part of the REAL Centre series.

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