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PEDAL: Research Areas

dad and baby

Our research

All research at the PEDAL Centre aims to:

  • Build on the evidence base and measures already developed by PEDAL and others to produce the world’s leading research on play and its impact on child development and learning outcomes

  • Adopt a cross‐disciplinary approach that moves play research into the mainstream of education and psychology, and makes it central to the field of child development and learning

  • Design, develop and share tools and interventions that enable teachers, caregivers, and early career academics to improve play‐based research and practice in the UK and in developing countries

  • Disseminate validated guidance on the role of play in education, development and learning to support policymakers and governments in the UK and across the globe

children playing

Social Play: Social Lives

Creating a framework for the conceptualisation and measurement of play, helping us to explore its role in social/emotional development (led by Jenny Gibson).

baby & xylophone

Play in Early Life

Establishing a longitudinal study of play throughout childhood and beyond (led by Paul Ramchandani and Marisol Basilio).

child & balloon

Stepping Stones in Science: Guiding Playful Learning

Investigating playful approaches to children’s early learning in science (led by Sara Baker).


Play Learning and Narrative Skills (PLaNS)

The overall aim of the PLaNS project is to investigate the positive influence that a playful learning approach could have in 5-10 year olds’ narrative and writing skills. Being able to construct a clear narrative, in a fictional form as a story, or in a non-fictional form as a descriptive account or a set of instructions, is a crucial skill, both within educational contexts and in the wider world of work and leisure. Currently there is a major concern that many children do not master these skills as well as they might. 

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