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PEDAL: Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development & Learning

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PEDAL – serious research about play

What is PEDAL?

PEDAL is located in the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education, and was launched in October 2015 with funding from the LEGO Foundation. Our mission is to conduct academic research into the role of play in young children’s education, development and learning to inform wider practice and policy.  PEDAL is part of the Psychology, Education and Learning Studies Research Group at the Faculty.

Why research play?

Play is an integral part of a happy childhood. All children and most adults engage in playful activities, including physical play, play with objects, symbolic play, pretence play and games with rules. At the minimum, it is clear that play is enjoyed by its participants, and this alone indicates it has motivational value in relation to learning.

However, beyond this, little has been scientifically established about the possible benefits of human playfulness, and it is currently under-researched. Play advocates claim that it enhances learning, has a clear role in education, and supports emotional well-being, good mental health, creativity and social competence. As such, it follows that play may have the potential to contribute to economic, social and cultural development.

Through PEDAL's research, the role of play in children’s education, development and learning will be more widely understood by those involved in their care and education. New insights will inform effective evidence-based policy and practice – and will unlock a source of knowledge and inspiration that will improve children’s lives around the world.

The Importance of Play

Importance of play - Whitebread

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