In January, the University of Cambridge advertised what could possibly be the most coveted job in education, ever – the Professor of Play. The new academic was tasked with investigating the role of playfulness in children’s learning and development, which is a relatively under-researched area. The post also includes leading Cambridge’s newly established PEDAL facility; a centre for research on Play in Education, Development And Learning. Both PEDAL and the professorship are being funded by the Lego Foundation. The charity, which owns 25% of the Lego business, gave a £4 million endowment to the University.
The university have now appointed Paul Ramchandani as the Professor of Play, Learning and Development. Professor Ramchandani has a lot of experience in areas such as children’s mental health. He has been working at Imperial College London, and is considered ideal for the role in many ways. Professor Ramchandani also works for the NHS Mental Health Trust, and has considerable experience in treating children with serious mental health conditions. He has also published research, which is considered to be pioneering in many ways, in several journals.
An Interesting Role
The salary of the professor will not be different from what others at the university earn. But with the Lego tag associated with his job, this is a coveted role for many people, and most people are sure to be congratulating the professor on his appointment. The stated goal of the Lego Foundation is to ensure that children have the skills needed to deal with challenges in the modern era. These skills include solving problems, working as part of a team, and being able to moderate their own behaviour.
Professor Ramchandani admits that his current knowledge about the importance of play in education is limited. Many people have researched the role of play in education but there are many unknown factors that require further study. Professor Ramchandani underlined the importance of knowledge, since it can enhance further development of children’s education. The research is expected to help to develop a curriculum for children based on play as a method for teaching. This is acknowledged as being very important for children’s overall development.
The team will also look into how children can be motivated to play within their homes and educational institutions, considering the impact that play has on children in every area of their daily lives. It will also study the neurological aspect involved in the activities relating to play. Professor Ramchandani’s research is expected to have a critical role in helping shape educational policies around the world, discussing matters such as the right to play. Other education experts have expressed high hopes about the future of the research to be undertaken at Cambridge University. They feel it will uncover new information on the importance of play in education of young children. As far as we’re concerned, that has to be a good thing with exciting possibilities.