QUT researcher is seeking Duplo donations to support PNG children
Associate Professor Kym Simoncini, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education is seeking donations of Duplo Lego for play-based maths learning for Papua New Guinean (PNG) children.
Professor Simoncini will take the donated blocks to PNG where she is leading a project to update the qualifications of early primary teachers.
“In February I will deliver maths teacher training in PNG and would like to bring Duplo blocks to show the teachers how block play can set the groundwork for more formal maths learning and achievement,” she explained.
“Lego and Duplo Lego blocks have been a key asset for teachers and researchers investigating block play, early learning, and child development for the past few decades, in fact, LEGO has developed its Six Bricks educational program using six Duplo blocks.”
Professor Simoncini said that block play “promotes all areas of development (physical, cognitive, social and emotional) as well as imagination, problem solving and creativity,” and encourages spatial language such as ‘under’, ‘behind’, ‘beside’.
“Several studies have found a link between block play and math achievement,” she continued.
“For example, a study of pre-school aged children building with blocks alongside their peers and teacher, found that complexity in building with blocks was associated with increases in the children’s mathematical learning.”
Professor Simoncini said block play enables children to explore maths concepts and teachers to nurture and extend their knowledge and understanding.
“This was confirmed by a study we conducted in East New Britain PNG where children aged five to seven years played with donated Duplo blocks and did some play-based learning activities with teachers who had had two training workshops on block learning,” she said.
“Given the lack of other teaching and learning resources, the blocks were played with every day for seven months by the children. Overall, the children who had had access to the blocks scored more highly in the five aspects of the Schedule for Early Number Assessment than the group of children who had not.”
“This small research study along with other studies show that blocks are an important aid to stimulate mathematical thinking. They are especially important in low-income countries where lack of basic learning supplies is a barrier to better education.”
Those who wish to donate to Associate Professor Simoncini’s work can leave blocks at Recycling Stations of level 2 both the QUT Libraries at Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove or can contact Professor Simoncini via email to: [email protected]
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