P.E.R. Play Explore Research

The P.E.R. Project Play Explore Research promotes the relationship between play and learning and the right to quality education for all, involving teachers and educators from all over the world in a creative learning journey

In recent centuries, research has suggested a strong connection between play and learning (Piaget), emphasising the fundamental role of play in children's ability to learn and acquire skills.

Despite this, the idea of playful learning in formal and non-formal contexts is still very limited nowadays: play is perceived as a non-serious activity, mostly related to the early childhood period.

Schools are often organised in a way that gives little or no room for play and most still adopt a transmissive method that focuses on routine learning by children, devaluing the creation of meaning that comes from experimenting, exercising curiosity, cultivating passion and motivation.

For this reason, Fondazione Reggio Children and The LEGO Foundation have started a new collaboration with the P.E.R. Play Explore Research project to pursue Sustainable Development Goal 4 of Agenda 2030: provide quality, equitable and inclusive education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Taking action for education and play means acing for peace. Taking action for a playful, passionate education that digs into every child’s motivation to prepare them in a better way for their future. To welcome this necessary dimension we are starting a project with The LEGO Foundation that we, together, have strongly wanted and that we are inaugurating with a big protagonist of creative learning, the Lifelong Kindergarten of MIT Media Lab.

The Play, Explore, Research project will be a powerful platform to reunite educators, researchers and politic leaders to make learning through play evolve globally for children. Children will put effort into a unique environment that reinforces peer relationships, creative learning, passion and motivation, helping them to develop essential competences for life and knowledge to face the future.

Many things are constantly changing in the world and the flow of unexpected and unpredictable situations is getting faster, and it is important that children can grow as creative thinkers. Children must feel comfortable and safe in environments and communities that inspire trust, where they can face the risk to make mistakes and find new ways to create and experiment. Community and creativity go hand in hand.

Quality education for childhood, solidarity and research, fundamental for the Reggio experience thanks to the PER Project, get along with another important characteristic: creativity. We can see it in the history of work and knowledge that we see in Parco Innovazione, Centro internazionale Loirs Malaguzzi and that we will see in the former Caffarri, that is going to be the incubator of the project sustained by The LEGO Foundation. Fundamental is, for Reggio Emilia, the possibility to promote and spread the right to a quality education for everybody and to be able to be present in the suburbs of the world.

A world tour to promote the relationship between play and learning and quality education

Starting from the educational experience of the city of Reggio Emilia and in continuity with the work carried out together with The LEGO Foundation in the past years, the project aims to improve the awareness of playful educational practices of teachers, educators and caregivers at an international level, to contribute to the dissemination of the benefits of this approacthrough the publication of doctoral research and to foster the experimentation of playful educational activities dedicated to teachers, children and their families.

Over a three-year time horizon, the P.E.R. project will be divided into three areas of intervention:

  1. Realisation of 7 international conferences on 5 continents addressed to teachers, educators, policy makers, families, NGOs on the theme of the relationship between play and learning followed by in-depth discussions and workshops;
  2. Publication and dissemination of research results on learning and play involving the PhD in Reggio Childhood Studies;
  3. Creation of a new research centre in the former Caffarri food factory in Reggio Emilia, a large space next to the International Centre, where educators, policy makers and families can experience different playful approaches to learning through workshops and ateliers.

    The upgraded building will host the project scintillae - play and learning in the digital age, realised by the Reggio Children Foundation with The LEGO Foundation, and will become the new home of the Remida, the Creative Recycling Centre of Reggio Emilia.

The numbers of the project

46.2760 Children


30.800 Teachers


75 Researchers and academics


90 ONGs


6 Continents

involved in conferences and workshops

40 Workshop


The launch event in Reggio Emilia

The project was launched from Italy on 16 and 17 November 2023 at the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre in Reggio Emilia with a double event: the first of 7 conferences with national and international guests, including Vanna Iori and Mitchel Resnick, and the Italian preview presentation of the MIT Media Lab's creative coding app, Octostudio

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