Ben Mardell, professor in the early childhood graduate programs, is currently on leave from Lesley to serve as the co-principal investigator of the Pedagogy of Play (PoP) project at Project Zero, a researcher organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. PoP aims to help educators bring play and playfulness into the heart of school learning experiences. Currently, Project Zero researchers are collaborating with educators at the International School of Billund (Denmark) to create tools and practices around playful learning. The project is expanding into South Africa to understanding how playfulness can l support learning in a variety of cultural contexts. More information about PoP.
About his work, Ben says: I am interested in all aspects of early childhood education. Children as citizens—the idea that young children are capable of creating and communicating complex ideas and that adding their voices to civic discourse enriches classrooms and communities—is the focus of much of my current work. Using this lens to intentionally combine curriculum and professional development with advocacy has led to exciting results (see Places to Play in Providence: A Guide to the City By Our Youngest Citizens). My research also involves creating learning groups in the classroom and staff room.
AB, Brown University
MS, Wheelock College
PhD, Tufts University