Playful learning: A new path to education reform

Kindergarten teacher Princess Bryant and paraprofessional Emily Lichtenstein (L) meet their incoming students and parents remotely before the first day of classes in the new school year at the Tynan Elementary School in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., September 18, 2020.  Bryant will begin the school year teaching classes virtually from her classroom because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder

“The American education system is not preparing all children to thrive,” say the guests on this episode, adding that many schools continue to operate according to an early 20th century “factory model” that aimed to mold students for the industrial economy.

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Helen Hadani are co-authors of a new Big Ideas paper in the Brookings Policy 2020 series titled, “A new path to education reform: Playful learning promotes 21st-century skills in schools and beyond” In this interview, Hirsh-Pasek and Hadani explain what playful learning is and what it isn’t, what 21st-century skills are and why they are essential for our times, and how educators and school administrators can bring the playful learning approach to classrooms.

Also on this episode, Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, introduces the new Blueprints for American Renewal & Prosperity project that features fact-based federal policy solutions to counter the unprecedented impacts and disparities laid bare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and bring long-needed prosperity to Americans of all walks of life.

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The Brookings Cafeteria is part of the Brookings Podcast Network.