15th June 2017

Cambridge University has appointed a new “professor of play,” who will lead new research into the way children play. The appointment has been funded by a £4 million ($5mln) endowment from the Lego Foundation.

 

Now PEDAL has appointed Professor Paul Ramchandani, an expert in child development, to head up the department.

Professor Anna Vignoles from Cambridge University said Prof Ramchandani would take up his post in January, adding: “We already have a number of strands of research under way. Most of our focus is on pre-school play.”

 One of the studies they have begun involves using GPS technology to monitor how children play in the school playground.

“It enables us to observe movement and examine why children are clustering together. It is better than watching them because they will change what they do if there is an adult there observing them,” Professor Vignoles told Sputnik.

She said there had been a great deal of research into children’s education and how they do schoolwork but very little on how they play.

“We hope that the research we do will help identify ways by which intervention, in terms of play, can be used to help children from disadvantage backgrounds when they are struggling. Play is ubiquitous and we want to look at what play does for different children,” Professor Vignoles said.

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