Social-Emotional Learning Through Play with the LEGO Foundation


October 2020: The LEGO Foundation is partnering with the social learning platform, FutureLearn, to deliver a new course designed to help teachers, parents and educational systems provide social-emotional learning (SEL) support to children aged 0-16 affected by COVID-19 disruption.

Numerous studies, including a recent report from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, have shown an increase in anxiety among children and adolescents. And with many children still attending school virtually and unable to socialize with their fellow students, the LEGO Foundation has developed the free online course, Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play, to help primary caregivers and teachers build their capacity to respond to uncertain situations, and boost children’s socio-emotional wellbeing by learning through play.

 The course covers the practical and emotional challenges facing children today, the foundations of learning through play, helpful stress management strategies, the importance of SEL in a crisis, adult wellbeing, and age-sensitive SEL knowledge and activities. Learners will also consider the potential long-term effects of crises on a child’s wellbeing and cognitive development, and how to best aid children in coping with changes and transitions. 

 Amy Jo Dowd, Head of Evidence at the LEGO Foundation, said:

“Children across the world are coping with the social and emotional effects of COVID-19. At the LEGO Foundation, we believe that learning through play is one of the key vehicles to help children, and adults, cope with these effects as well as build upon their social and emotional skills, which are especially important during times of challenge and crisis. During this course, our partners from the University of Cambridge, Harvard Graduate School of Education, University of Notre Dame and The MHPSS Collaborative will share their deep knowledge of child development and social and emotional well-being and they will present simple play-based learning activities that support the development of social-emotional skills, using everyday materials, that are designed to reinforce our long-standing belief that learning should be a fun and creative process.”

Finola Lang, Global Education Lead at FutureLearn, said:
“Adjusting to change is always difficult, and there is a real worry that young people, whose education and social development have been disrupted, might be some of the worst affected by the pandemic. New research is beginning to point to some of the troubling potential effects, such as the impact on child mental health. It is important that those supporting young people through this uncertain time take action to mitigate this impact. Through partnering with the LEGO Foundation we hope to bring their renowned expertise in learning through play to a global audience of learners and empower parents and teachers to equip children with the social-emotional tools to cope with these challenges and transitions.”

The course is available on