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RTI and NYU Partner on New LEGO Foundation Initiative to Measure the Impact of Play

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.— RTI International (RTI), a non-profit research institute, and New York University’s Global TIES for Children Center (NYU-TIES) are pleased to announce our collaboration under the LEGO Foundation’s new Measurement Initiative to develop tools to measure “Learning through Play” across age groups, settings and contexts. This initiative will provide new ways to measure Learning through Play and help researchers understand how play contributes to holistic skills development in children.

In infancy and early childhood, play builds a strong foundation for learning by improving brain development and growth. Play also brings a powerful engine to drive learning—the intrinsic motivation of children themselves.

“RTI is very excited to be working with NYU-TIES, funded by the LEGO Foundation, to develop tools to help us better understand the benefits of play and how it can be promoted at home and at school for children of all ages,” said Melinda Taylor, Senior Vice President of International Education at RTI.

The set of tools for measuring Learning through Play will be open source, user friendly, cost effective and designed to be adopted across contexts by local governments, researchers, civil society and other stakeholders. The toolkit will include a suite of measurement tools focused on children aged 0–12 years, along with resources to support training, piloting, contextualization, and analysis. 

The toolkit is scheduled to be piloted in Kenya, Jordan, Bangladesh, and Ghana, with local institutions and experts in each country providing input on their development.

The new work to measure Learning through Play compliments existing RTI work, also funded by the LEGO Foundation, to evaluate programs using “Learning through Play Pedagogies” in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda. 

About the LEGO Foundation’s Measurement Initiative
The LEGO Foundation’s Measurement Initiative aims to develop measurement tools to investigate the impact of Learning through Play on learning outcomes across age groups (0-12), settings, and geographies. The initiative will develop affordable, valid, and feasible ways to measure quality Learning through Play, including learning environments and processes, and the presence and characteristics of play that support deeper learning. These tools are expected to generate evidence on how quality Learning through Play contributes to holistic skills development in children. Longer term outcomes of the five-year initiative include facilitating the uptake of these tools by governments and their systems, and measurement of the achievement of holistic skills. For more information on Learning through Play and holistic skills development please see the LEGO Foundation’s online knowledge base.

About New York University’s Global TIES for Children Center 
NYU-TIES is an international research center embedded within NYU’s Institute of Human Development and Social Change and supported by the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute. Since its inception, the Center has been at the forefront of promoting children’s holistic development in low and middle income countries and conflict affected areas, through rigorous, multi-method approaches to measurement, evaluation and implementation research.  In the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America, TIES engages with a range of  partners to develop and validate measures of child holistic learning and program quality.  Based on this work, Global  TIES has advised on approaches to monitoring early childhood and primary education quality at national, regional, and global levels, including in the development and implementation of Sustainable Development Goal target 4.2 which focuses on Early Childhood Development.

About RTI International’s International Education Division
RTI’s International Education division uses evidence-based approaches to strengthen education policy, management, and practice at every level—from classrooms to national ministries—to achieve measurable improvement in education quality and, ultimately, learning outcomes globally. For more information, visit www.rti.org/practice-area/international-education.

About RTI International
RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.