Cambridge to Create a LEGO Professor

LEGO science teacher

Cambridge may soon have a professor–and a whole new department–focused on play.
Image: Ekaterina_Minaeva / Shutterstock.com

Ever wanted to get paid to play? The University of Cambridge may have the job for you: the newly-created Professorship of Play in Education, Development, and Learning. The position, which still needs to go through a final approval process, would start in October of this year and involve teaching and research in the area of child development and play. The position and programming around it would be sponsored by the LEGO Foundation, which hopes to “build a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, life-long learners.”

The position, supported by LEGO’s £2.5 million, will be complemented by the creation of a new research center, backed by an additional £1.5 million gift.

It’s actually not as silly as it might sound. More and more institutions are investing in the study of play, especially as many schools cut back on recess and free time and add in more strict academic standards in early education. Educators are always looking for ways to balance the important developmental skills learned in play with building a solid academic background. Even Common Core values include a nod to the importance of play in early childhood education. Studies of childhood development show that play allows children to develop social emotional skills by interacting with their peers, creating rules, and practicing communication. Through play, children interact with the world around them and learn the confidence and resiliency to deal with future challenges.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, playtime has decreased over the years due to hurried lifestyles, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics, which often means less recess or playtime.

In fact, play is so important to child development, it’s been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.

If it’s enacted, the new program and position at Cambridge should help support research into how educators can incorporate play into their lessons and keep this important part of child development front and center.

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One thought on “Cambridge to Create a LEGO Professor

  1. stevench25 says:

    This is awesome. Thanks for sharing. I’m forfunate enough to have a job I consider more as play than work. ‘Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play. This turns possible underachievers into happy Warriors’ (Ken Robinson)

    Like

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