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Welcome to the course

Welcome greeting from the LEGO Professor of Play Paul Ramchandani.
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Hello, my name is Paul Ramchandani. I’m the LEGO professor of play here at the University of Cambridge, and it’s my pleasure to welcome you to this course. It’s become increasingly clear in recent years that children need a broad range of skills and abilities in order to thrive when they leave school, to thrive both in the world of work, but also in the rest of life, as well as academic skills. They also need a range of collaborative skills and social skills in order to do as well as they can emotionally and socially in life. This has become even more apparent coming out of the pandemic, as well as missing out on really important academic learning.
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Children have missed out on very important social interaction and social learning. There are broad range of ways in which children can develop these skills and abilities, and they’ll be different for children in different settings and at different ages. Learning through play can be a particularly effective way for children to learn collaborative skills and social learning skills. Learning through play can also be an effective way in which children learn some key academic skills, such as early math. Now, in this course, you’ll be introduced to some learning through play activities, some of which are very easy to introduce into the classroom. And I hope you’re getting value and pleasure from this course.

Every day teachers greet and work with children from all backgrounds. Some are prepared for learning together and others are not. Some children are exposed to many more enriching experiences before they start school than others. The gap in experiences and communication skills between the most and least deprived children is now wider than ever.

Social and collaboration skills are not innate – children learn and develop them from birth. They vary depending on the child’s early experiences as a baby, toddler and young child. Some children come to school and can work in teams and communicate effectively. But in most classrooms, far too many children are not able to properly do so.

Teachers across all age ranges have a wide variety of roles and responsibilities. The responsibility of teaching children to become numerate, literate, critically creative thinkers is enormous. However, it is not their ability to teach mathematics or literacy skills which is the core of their craft – it is the ability to develop and support the progression of collaboration and social skills. The algebraic aptitude of a student or his or her poetic talents are meaningless without the skills and abilities to communicate effectively with others, to lead and follow, to reflect and plan, and to disagree and compromise in a way that is productive, meaningful and successful.

The teaching of collaboration and social skills is the hidden goal of the teacher. That is why our ambition with this course is to provide you with social learning and collaboration activities that are based on a learning through play methodology and are easy to apply in the classroom.

Welcome to the course.

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Social Learning and Collaboration in School: Learning to Thrive through Play

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