Play and Learning in Children’s Eyes

Bangladesh, Colombia, and Uganda.  

When children experience play as joyful, actively engaging, meaningful, iterative and socially interactive, their play is more likely to lead to deeper learning, connecting factual knowledge with real-world experiences. However, it is not always clear how children experience learning through play (LtP) or what, in their eyes, constitutes a quality LtP experience, or what fosters feelings of self-efficacy in children’s play. Far too often, adults fill the void in knowledge with assumptions about children’s perspectives. Funded by the Lego Foundation, Play and Learning in Children’s Eyes (PALICE) takes a different approach. Capturing children’s voices in this equation—their diverse experiences of learning through play across ages and geographies—is an important step towards thoughtfully building educational environments that optimize these opportunities globally.

Our Approach

Through Play and Learning in Children’s Eyes (PALICE), the FHI 360 led Consortium – the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child; the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; the Institute of Informatics and Development (IID) in Bangladesh; Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia, and the Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education (LGIHE) in Uganda – are developing and validating a set of formative tools designed to help teachers in low-and middle-income countries assess and improve their practice in Learning through Play (LtP), through a deeper understanding of how children experience LtP in their classrooms. The tools consist of two modalities: the Formative Observation and Reflection Assessment (FORA) and the Children’s Experiences of LtP Protocol (CELP). The tools will be developed and pilot-tested in three countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, and Uganda.  

Goals, Progress, and Impact

1. Create a self-assessment to support teacher’s adaptations to their LtP practice, ensuring that the LtP activities promoted in the classroom are joyful, engaging, meaningful, iterative, and socially engaging for their students, supporting deeper learning. The assessment will be available in a paper-based format, as well as digital mobile application. The digital version automatically generates reflection questions and simple guidance tips for how teachers can adapt LtP activities to improve the alignment between original intentions and their observations. 

2. Gather children’s perspectives and feelings – those aspects that cannot be directly observed–about a discrete LtP activity implemented by the teacher in the classroom.