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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 memberElian Fink
Senior 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, Eloise Stevens 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' (

Dave Neale is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow working with PEDAL for one year on parent-infant play research.

PEDAL Policy

Sally Hogg is PEDAL's Policy Fellow communicating our research to shape policy within national and local governments and not-for-profit organisations. 


Beth Barker is a Research Assistant working on PEDAL Hub - a website with current and credible play research, resources and information.

PEDAL Administration

Helen Morgan is the PEDAL Administrator overseeing the operational aspects of running a research centre, and Lisa Zwierzanski is the Projects Assistant supporting the research team.

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. 

Contact us

For any enquiries about PEDAL,  email us, or call 01223 767548.

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