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Lemann Foundation, Through Its Brazilian Creative Learning Network (BCLN) Initiative, Awarded $4million to Deliver First Ever LEGO Foundation Tech and Play Initiative, Benefiting Half a Million Brazilian Schoolchildren

·4-min read
  • The Lemann Foundation, through its Brazilian Creative Learning Network (BCLN) initiative, has been awarded nearly $4million ($3,974,437) to fund the Creative Schools Program.

  • The program will be delivered in partnership with renowned US institutions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University and The Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium, California.

  • Brazil is one of three countries to benefit from the LEGO Foundation’s initiative, which aims to demonstrate the crucial role of play in children’s learning.

  • The program will be implemented by BCLN up to across 20 school systems in Brazil, benefiting 500,000 students.

The Lemann Foundation, Brazil’s leading not-for-profit education organization, has been awarded nearly $4million by the LEGO Foundation to deliver their first ever Tech and Play initiative. As one of only three organizations to have been selected, the Lemann Foundation will implement the four-year Creative Schools Program in partnership with the Brazilian Creative Learning Network (BCLN), which will see more than 500,000 students benefit as it is rolled-out across 20 of Brazil’s public school systems.

Focused on boosting creativity and making education more meaningful, the LEGO Foundation views the program as a critical means of demonstrating the importance of incorporating play into children’s learning. The project will foster the creation of playful, creative and relevant hands-on education opportunities for students that will work with a combination of both creative technology and simple recyclable materials easily available in Brazilian schools such as paper and cardboard.

Working closely with distinguished partners such as the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium Museum and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts University to design the initiative, the Creative Schools Program represents a significant change to the way in which education is delivered in Brazil.

With 50% of Brazilian students still illiterate by the third grade and Brazil’s poor performance in the OECD’s PISA rankings for Math and Science being ascribed to outdated content-based, teacher-centred instruction, the Lemann Foundation has long argued for a shift to competency-based, student-centred education.

Through working closely with teachers from the BCLN who are already engaged in the methodology of creative learning, the Foundation will use the Creative Schools Program to develop creative learning leaders who are able to share their expertise with colleagues, helping to embed creative learning in the Brazilian schools and leaving a lasting legacy to the Brazilian education system.

Lucas Rocha, Innovation Manager, from the Lemann Foundation said:

"The World Economic Forum estimates that Brazil has developed less than 60% of our talent, and our continuing struggles in the PISA ranking demonstrates that more needs to be done to encourage students’ capacity for conceptual understanding. Improving the learning outcomes of its 48 million students is a pressing need of Brazilian Education right now.

"By bringing play to the centre of the education experience, we can create learning spaces that are highly engaging, social and exploratory; contributing to the development of the love of learning, collaboration and creativity that are essential for success in the modern world.

"The change we aim to achieve through the Creative Schools Program is that creative learning becomes the new normal in Brazilian schools, rather than an exception."

Sarah Bouchie, Chief Impact Officer from The LEGO Foundation said:

"There is a growing body of evidence showing that learning through play is crucial to develop key holistic skills that children will need to thrive in today’s changing world. Playful pedagogies can elevate the introduction of technology in the classroom by raising student engagement and making the experience meaningful and relatable.

"When hearing the word "technology" the mind can sometimes jump to complex and costly things like tablets and laptops, but it can also include very simple and accessible tools like paper and scissors to help children play, tinker and learn. We are looking forward to exploring these avenues with the BCLN."

The Creative Schools Program builds upon previous work undertaken by the Lemann Foundation to foster a more learner-centred and competency-based approach to education. In 2017, the Foundation spearheaded the drive to establish and implement the National Learning standards in Brazil, which focused on ensuring the quality of the standards and its nation-wide implementation.

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Joe Billenness
Apollo Strategic Communications