More learning through play suggested for the UN Sustainable Development Goals
12 April, 2016, Billund, Denmark: Child education needs more creativity, collaboration and critical thinking - all skills that are rooted in learning through play, says co-chair of the education workgroup of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Hirokazu Yoshikawa. International experts attending this year’s LEGO® Idea Conference will discuss quality learning with the aim to inject the viewpoints into the global education debate.
“Worldwide, rich, middle income and low income countries alike have a lot of challenges concerning the quality of early childhood education. For the last 15 years, we have increased access to primary education, but progress in the rates of access was not accompanied by equally rapid rates of increases in learning. This is why “quality” is now included in the UN early childhood development target,” says Hirokazu Yoshikawa, a University Professor at New York University and the Early Childhood Development representative of the global research network providing input to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The SDSN network was established to advise Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Member States on how the UN Sustainable Development Goal #4 can succeed in ensuring quality in children’s early and basic education. Hirokazu Yoshikawa is currently visiting Denmark to attend this year’s LEGO Idea Conference alongside 300 international experts to discuss learning and education. The aim of the conference is to discuss what defines quality learning, what constitutes a quality learning experience and how to measure and implement these insights at scale.
“In the future, we will see 21st century skills like teamwork, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking become increasingly important - all skills that are rooted in learning through play. We see impressive increases in both observed quality and in children’s learning and development when support from a skilled adult is paired with a curriculum that fosters socioemotional, language or numeracy development, allowing for play, but also structuring the building of specific skills in children,” says Yoshikawa.
Creativity and curiosity provides lifelong learning
The LEGO Foundation supports Hirokazu Yoshikawa’s viewpoints. The foundation focuses on the need to incorporate learning through play as an effective means to provide children with quality learning experiences. The aim is to build a future where learning through play empowers children to be creative and engaged and thereby capable of learning throughout their lives.
“Millions of children are receiving sub-standard education. Even though they attend school, they are left behind in the development of skills that are essential for their future. Early quality play experiences that are motivating, engaging, and meaningful spark children’s curiosity for learning and support the development of skills that are predictive of lifelong learning. We at the LEGO Foundation are therefore pleased that the UN recognises that play has a vital role in creating quality learning,” says Hanne Rasmussen, CEO of the LEGO Foundation.
About the LEGO Foundation
The LEGO Foundation believes that learning through play is essential in children’s learning and development. The LEGO Foundation has taken on the task of re-defining what we mean with play and its role in learning, and of re-imagining how we can stimulate children to learn. Skills like problem solving, creativity, empathy, communication and teamwork are all rooted in play, which involves a constant process of “try, fail and try again” – helping children to develop and fine-tune their creative and critical thinking skills.
The LEGO Foundation focuses on children aged 0-12 with a special emphasis on early childhood. This is the period when children develop most rapidly and when play is instrumental in building skills essential for the rest of their lives. The mission of the LEGO Foundation is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. The aim is to build a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged lifelong learners.