LEGO Foundation Commits $24 Million to 'Learning Through Play'

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The LEGO Foundation in Billund, Denmark, has announced commitments totaling $24 million in support of efforts to promote Learning Through Play pedagogies in five countries.

Grants of approximately $4 million each over four years to the Aga Khan Foundation, BRAC, Right To Play, UNICEF, and VVOB – Education for Development will support partnerships that integrate play-based pedagogies into official in-service teacher professional development systems for primary school teachers in Kenya, Bangladesh, Ghana, Rwanda, and Vietnam. In addition, a five-year, $4 million grant to RTI International will fund an outcomes evaluation across the five countries.

Each partner organization will work with the country's Ministry of Education to provide effective, ongoing teacher professional development with respect to integrating Learning to Play pedagogies, which have been shown to help children gain a broad array of skills and foster critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving competencies that are now featured widely in primary school curricula around the world.

According to the partner organizations, the effort will help strengthen the capacity of 3,000 teachers in Kenya; 300 head teachers, 1,200 teachers, and 225 field-level government education supervisors in Bangladesh; 1,870 teachers in Ghana; 800 mentor-trainers and 2,900 school-based mentors who coach 29,000 teachers in Rwanda; and more than 150,000 teachers in Vietnam. In total, the initiative is expected to benefit some five million children between the ages of 6 and 12, 190,000 educators, and three million parents and community stakeholders.

"By focusing on teachers, these partnerships bring Learning through Play approaches directly into children's classrooms," said LEGO Foundation head of global programs Sarah Bouchie. "Working with stakeholders across the system, including classroom teachers, school leaders, parents and community members, and Ministry of Education officials from district to national levels, these partnerships can help to create an enabling environment that supports and sustains the use of play-based pedagogies in achieving improved learning for millions of primary school learners."

(Photo credit: VVOB – Education for Development)