They’re having fun… but are they learning? — MIT Media Lab

How can you measure the learning outcomes of play? This has frustrated professionals in the field of early childhood education for years. It has been well documented that play is an essential piece in children’s learning, especially in creative learning and motivation. But, without the means to directly measure how play facilitates academic achievements, it tends to be the first thing cut from early educational environments. When researchers rely heavily on academic metrics to assess learning, we tend to blind ourselves to the bigger picture. If, instead, we take a holistic view, it’s clear that play has a major role in a child’s educational development through motivation, construction, exploration, experimentation, social-emotional development, language development, and cognitive development.