skip to primary navigation skip to content

PEDAL: Who We Are

soft building blocks

Director and Lead Researchers

image of staff memberPaul Ramchandani LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning and Director of PEDAL. Leading the research area 'Play in Early Life'. View profile

image of staff member Sara Baker
Leading 'Stepping Stones in Science'
Play-based learning; scientific reasoning in early childhood; executive functions; development of social cognition; belief formation and belief revision. View profile

image of staff member Marisol Basilio
Research Associate on 'Play in Early Life'.
Play and learning in education; development of self-regulation and metacognition; early communication and literacy. View profile

image of staff member Elian Fink
Research Associate on 'Social Play: Social Lives'.
Social competence and friendship; social cognition; emotion management. View profile

image of staff memberJenny Gibson
Leading 'Social Play: Social Lives'.
Play as a context for development; peer relationships; developmental language impairments; autism; outdoor play; friendships and emotional development View profile

PEDAL Researchers 

Silvana Mareva is working with Jenny and Elian on 'Social Play: Social Lives' (

Paul, Marisol and Christine O'Farrelly are working on 'Play in Early Life' (

Natalie Day and Hayley Gains are working with Sara on 'Stepping Stones in Science' (


Anna Vidos is working on the development and implementation of PEDAL Hub - a free online searchable database of authoritative play research and information.  PEDAL Hub has funding for its launch phase from the Economic & Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account and the LEGO Foundation.  

Current PEDAL PhD Students

Esinam Avornyo
Investigating Play and Learning in the Ghanaian Early Years Classroom: A Mixed Methods Study.

Gill Francis
Peer Interaction and Object Interaction in Free Play. A study of Children with and without Autism.

Janina Eberhart

Soizic LeCourtois

Lenka Janik Blaskova

PEDAL PhD Awards

Martina Kuvalja
Self-regulation and Self-directed Speech in Children with Specific Language Impairment (awarded in 2015).

Mohini Verma Patterns of Speech and Play in Preschoolers’ Goal-directed Activity.

Elaine Gray The Role of Executive Function, Metacognition, and Support Type in Children’s Ability to Solve Physics Problems.

PEDAL Alumni

As one of our objectives is to grow capacity in the field of play research, we'd like to celebrate the progress and achievements of former PEDAL students and colleagues:

Dr Ciara Laverty, a former Research Associate working with Prof Ramchandani is now a Research Specialist at the LEGO Foundation in Billund, Denmark.

Elaine Gray, a former PhD student, is now a Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh working on a project looking at the factors that influence adolescent depression. 

Contacting PEDAL

For any enquiries about PEDAL, contact Charity Green (PEDAL Centre Administrator) on 01223 767548 or Anna Vidos (PEDAL Projects Assistant) on 01223 767649, or you can reach them via

PEDAL logo