LEGO Foundation supports children’s social and emotional learning with free PD

by Freya Lucas

October 26, 2020

The LEGO Foundation is offering a free course designed to give early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals and parents insights and tools to practice learning through play to help children and young people learn how to cope with changes brought on by the pandemic.

 

Through a partnership with the social learning platform, FutureLearn, the Foundation will deliver a new course designed to help teachers, parents and educational systems provide social-emotional learning (SEL) support to children aged from birth to 16 years of age affected by COVID-19 disruption.

 

The free course has been developed after numerous studies, including a recent report from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, have shown an increase in anxiety among children and adolescents. 

 

Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play has been developed to help primary caregivers and educators build their capacity to respond to uncertain situations, and boost children’s socio-emotional wellbeing by learning through play.

 

The practical and emotional challenges facing children are covered in the session, with the foundations of learning through play, helpful stress management strategies, the importance of SEL in a crisis, adult wellbeing, and age-sensitive SEL knowledge and activities all being included. 

 

Learners will also be asked to consider the potential long-term effects of crises on a child’s wellbeing and cognitive development, and how to best aid children in coping with changes and transitions. 

 

Learning through play, Amy Jo Dowd, Head of Evidence at the LEGO Foundation, said, is “one of the key vehicles to help children, and adults, cope with these effects as well as build upon their social and emotional skills, which are especially important during times of challenge and crisis”.

 

The course is underpinned by credible tertiary partners including the University of Cambridge, Harvard Graduate School of Education, University of Notre Dame and The MHPSS Collaborative, all of whom have shared their deep knowledge of child development and social and emotional well-being. 

 

Each tertiary provider will present simple play-based learning activities that support the development of social-emotional skills, using everyday materials, that are designed to reinforce our long-standing belief that learning should be a fun and creative process.

 

Speaking on behalf of FutureLearn, Finola Lang, Global Education Lead, said that adjusting to change “is always difficult, and there is a real worry that young people, whose education and social development have been disrupted, might be some of the worst affected by the pandemic”. 

 

“New research is beginning to point to some of the troubling potential effects, such as the impact on child mental health. It is important that those supporting young people through this uncertain time take action to mitigate this impact. Through partnering with the LEGO Foundation we hope to bring their renowned expertise in learning through play to a global audience of learners and empower parents and teachers to equip children with the social-emotional tools to cope with these challenges and transitions.”

 

To access the course, please see here. 

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