Parents, teachers, school districts, day care providers, librarians, pediatricians, speech and language therapists, policy makers, and others who work with children are concerned about current trends in our society that work against children’s better interests. Rather than considering the “whole child” and the complex interplay between intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development, our society is more concerned with memorization than true achievement and with children knowing “facts” rather than becoming lifelong learners. Yet what has made the United States great is our ability to rapidly adapt to changes in the marketplace as well as to create novel solutions to old problems.
Business leaders across the country tell us that to compete in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st Century children will need a different kind of training and education. They will need to master what we call the 6Cs (TM) of collaboration (EQ, teamwork), communication ( speaking and listening), content (reading, math, arts and science), critical thinking (problem solving, analysis), creative innovation, and confidence (risk taking). Simply mending the worn knees and replacing the cuffs on our school system will not propel the future American workforce to success in a global economy. It is time to start a national dialogue that asks how we re-imagine schools to meet the demands of the 21st Century world. Findings from years of scientific research in child development and learning science has much to offer in this new conversation. Our outreach efforts through Learning Landscapes and our overhaul of the Godfrey-Lee Public School System using the 6Cs (TM) demonstrate our continued commitment to education for a global world.
In December 2021, Encantos, the global creator platform empowering Storyteachers from around the world to help kids learn 21st-century skills, announced that Kathy became Encantos’ first Creator-in-Residence. Kathy will bring her decades of experience to collaborate with the Encantos team as the company builds its direct-to-learner creator platform.
- Elected Member of the National Academy of Education (NAEd) Governing Council Member of the Society for Research in Child Development
- With academic institutions such as the Language Research Center at Georgia State University and with students doing research around the world
- Consulting on National Agenda Issues with the government as
- a participant in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development
- Consultant for the NIH Toolbox on language and literacy
- Consultant for State of California Preschool Curricula in language and literacy
- Fred Roger’s Center
- On the advisory board for the Alliance for Childhood
- Research Advisory Board for America’s Promise
- Advisory Board for CIVITAS
- Consulted with a number of Children’s Museums across America
- The Toy Industry
- HIT Entertainment
- Disney Junior
- Sesame Workshop
- Cartoon Network
- Blue’s Clues
RECENT INVITED PAPERS AND ADDRESSES
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, November 20). Re-Imagining education: A View from the science of learning. Invited Speaker, the 1st Uruguayan Congress in Cognitive Science and II Symposium on Education, Cognition and Neuroscience, Montevideo, Uruguay. Virtual.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, October 12). Playful Learning Landscapes: Putting SDG4 in the public square. Lego Idea Conference 2021, Lego Foundation.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, October 5). A Prescription for play: Why play fosters social and cognitive development. Invited Speaker, Building brains: The Science of early childhood development, Kaymbu360’s Virtual Symposium.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, October 5). How high quality language creates high quality learning environments. Invited Seminar, The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD).
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, September 29). A Prescription for play: How play fosters social and cognitive development. Keynote Speaker, e-LADDA CON 21: Understanding Language and Literacy Development in the Digital Age (Virtual Conference), Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, September 17). How high-quality language creates high quality learning environments. Invited Talk, Université de Paris Laboratoire de Psychologie du Développement et de l’Éducation de l’enfant. Virtual.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, September 2). Re-Imagining education: How you can best prepare children for 21st century success. Invited Speaker, T4 Alliance Impact Seminar on Learning Science.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, August 25). A Prescription for play: How play builds social and cognitive capitol. Speaker, Virtual Play and Fun Conference, Child Oriented Mental Intervention Centre (COMIC).
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, June 29). Sneak peek at playful learning in classrooms: What does success look like? Moderator/ Co-Presenter, Webinar, Grade Level Reading Campaign.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, June 28). Learning leveraged: Planning for better than returning to normal. Keynote Speaker, DEY 2021 Virtual Summer Institute.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, May 6). Reimagining education: A View from the science of learning. Virtual Presentation, University of Maryland, College of Education.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, April 27). The Fall K-3 Classroom: What the data imply about composition, challenges and opportunities. EducationWeek Webinar.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, March 30). Reimagining Early Care and Education: A New American Vision. Educational Policy Event, Virtual Conference, New America Org.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, February 20). A New path to education reform: Playful learning reduces COVID slide and promote learning in school and beyond. The Science of Teaching During a Pandemic, Virtual Conference, Learning and Brain Foundation.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, February 19). Re-IMagining Education: Learning Happens Everywhere. Keynote Speaker, Beyond School Hours 2021 National Educational Conference, Foundations, Inc., Virtual Conference.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, February 3). Finding joy through playful learning. Virtual Conference, Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network, Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, and Trying Together.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2021, January 13). A new path to education reform: The next chapter on 21st century skills. Virtual Panel, Webinar by Brookings Institute.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2020, December 17). Raising the flag on quality: Measuring important early childhood outcomes. Virtual Panel, Webinar by AppleTree Institute.
Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2020, October 20). Addressing inequality in education. Conscious Cities Festival, the Centre for Conscious Design (Virtual Presentation).
Alper, R. M., Beiting, M., Luo, R., Jaen, J., Peel, M., Levi, O., Robinson, C., Knappenberger, J., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2020, July). One is not enough: Understanding variability in early language interaction quality using parent self-efficacy and developmental knowledge profiles. In L. R. Masek (Chair), Building contingency: How caregiver and child characteristics relate to interactions that support infant language. Symposium conducted at the International Congress on Infant Studies, Glasgow, UK. https://infantstudies.org/program/
Rumper, B., Alper, R. M., Luo, R., Chen, Y., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Golinkoff, R. M. (2020, July). Building bridges: Adapting home-based early language intervention for the Early Head Start classroom. Poster session to be presented at the International Congress of Infant Studies, Glasgow, U.K. https://infantstudies.org/program/
“Are my kids getting carried away in their flights from reality?” – The Guardian, December 27, 2021 – “Never confuse fantasy and “realty”. It’s a sentence that has floated, jokingly, around my family ever since my father’s colleague uttered the bungle to him years ago. We New Yorkers, of course, never confuse fantasy and realty. But in our house we happily confuse the two all the time.”… READ MORE…
Small Talks, No. 40 – Isabelle Hau’s Newsletter, December 17, 2021 – Check out Isabelle Hau’s newsletter featuring a quote from Kathy… READ HERE….
“Time for Bin Busting: Teach Math, Reading, and Social Skills Together” – Education Week, December 15, 2021 – “I support a whole-child approach to teaching, but how do schools integrate it when we have so many different subjects to cover?”… READ MORE…
“Catch ’em young” – The Statesman, December 11, 2021 – “Perhaps most importantly, write scholars Elana Herbst, Roberta M. Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the legislation has reignited a necessary conversation about the role of gendered toys in perpetuating stereotypes harmful to children and to society at large. California is the first American state to enact such regulation, but the idea is not new.”… READ MORE…
“Why child’s play is serious business in early education” – EdSource, December 8, 2021 – “When it comes to early childhood education, child’s play may well be serious business. Fun and games bring more than just joy. They may be the key to helping children thrive in tough times, experts say. Since young children don’t often have an opportunity to exercise choice and control, free play can be a liberating experience, nurturing independence and relieving stress.” READ MORE….
“Newly renovated Fairmount Park playhouse offers kids serious fun as an antidote to screen time” – The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 28, 2021 – “Most people know Smith Memorial Playground for its giant wooden slide, the analog-age attraction that has amused generations of Philadelphia kids. But the Fairmount Park destination has a serious side, too. Smith’s original building was erected in 1899, during a period of rapid urbanization and industrialization.” READ MORE…
“Children First” – The Statesman, October 28, 2021 – “As the PLL movement continues to grow globally, it is important to underline that the existing installations have shown that PLL is effective at enhancing STEM and literacy skills and increasing child-caregiver interaction in ways that build social and mental capital.” READ MORE…
“Educational apps: how to make sure they’re worth it” – Tes, October 22, 2021 – “Before introducing an app into your classroom, you should make sure it passes these three tests,” writes Grace Pocock. Read her piece featuring Kathy HERE…
“Reimagining urban design for play and learning” – Dialogues: The Intersection of emerging research + Design for learning, Fall 2021 – Kathy and colleagues’ recent piece “Reimagining urban design for play and learning” appeared in “Dialogues: The Intersection of emerging research + design for Learning”… READ IT HERE…
“How high quality language creates high quality learning environments” – The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) – On October 5, 2021, Kathy presented a seminar titled “How high quality language creates high quality learning environments” for the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD)…. Watch it HERE….
Sharla Feldscher shares KIDFUN AND MORE with Kathy – WoMRadio, October 6, 2021 Show host Sharla Feldscher is the author of several KIDFUN books including the most recent, KIDFUN: 401 Easy Ideas for Play (Wordeee publishing). On October 6, 2021, she spoke to Kathy…. Listen HERE….
“Active learning in the community” – Science Magazine, October 1, 2021 – Check out Kathy and Roberta’s piece in Science Magazine about Playful Learning Landscapes! READ HERE….
“How to design a public play space where kids practice reading and STEM skills” – The Conversation, Sept 9, 2021 – “A park bench can be so much more than just a place to sit and wait. Perhaps it has a puzzle built into it, or weights that allow children to make measurements.”… Read More…
“Playtime is Making A Comeback in Philly” – Next City, September 8, 2021 – “Philadelphia resident and Temple University professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek was walking through the streets of her hometown and asked herself: Why does a sidewalk have to be a sidewalk? And a bench, a bench? In short, she thought: “What if we could create whole communities that looked really inviting for families and helped children get learning opportunities outside the school walls by reimagining public spaces as the new public squares?”” Read More…
“How to Have a Fun, Multigenerational Family Vacation” – New York Times, July 17, 2021 – “Sometimes a trip with small children means the same chores in a different place. Here’s advice on how to make it a vacation.” Read More…
“Best educational toys for toddlers” – Chicago Tribune, June 24, 2021 – “The best educational toys for toddlers are toys that provide a foundation for future learning potential. TheAmerican Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of 2, except video-chatting and 1 hour or less of high-quality educational screen time per day for children ages 2-5. Based on this advice, educational toys without screens are best for encouraging skill-building in young children.” Read More…
“Bringing joy back to the classroom and supporting stressed kids – what summer school looks like in 2021” – The Conversation, June 15, 2021 – Already 62% of parents believe their children are behind in learning, according to a survey conducted by the National PTA and Learning Heroes… We’ve assembled a panel of academics (including Kathy) to talk about how summer schools should be supporting students this year. Here, five experts explain what summer school does, and why it may look very different this year.” Read More…
“Importance of Play” – Dear Highlights Podcast, June 1, 2021 – I have so much homework, when will I have time to play? This kid lament is one many parents hear daily and to help, this episode of the Dear Highlights podcast tackles the importance of play in a kid’s life. Host Christine French Cully talks with Kathy about how children really learn and why they need to play more and memorize less. Yet many parents, educators, and policy makers worry that playtime takes children away from precious academic activities. Check it out….
“Santa Ana Families Design Playful Learning Experiences for Kids in the Community” – May 27, 2021, PBS SoCal – Messages of gratitude and excitement from parents filled a Zoom chat on May 19, 2021, as organizers concluded the seventh workshop for the research project Stimulating STEM in the City: Co-Designing with Latinx Families to Promote Informal STEM Learning. Read More…
“COVID-19 Sparks an Overdue Discussion on Education Reform: An Optimistic Vision” – May 25, 2021, Temple University Public Policy Lab Policy Brief – Read Kathy’s Public Policy Brief published by Temple University Public Policy Lab… Read More…
“7 Top Takeaways from the Talk: Kathy Hirsh-Pasek’s ‘Reimagining Education’” – May 26, 2021, Early Learning Nation – “Listening to Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek talk about education can feel like the first time you visit one of those frozen yogurt places where you add your own toppings… On May 6, when she gave a virtual talk titled “Reimagining Education: A View from the Science of Learning” for the University of Maryland’s Center for Early Childhood Education and Intervention and Language and Literacy Research Center, I found myself grabbing for every morsel of knowledge within reach.” Read More…
“OP-ED: Prioritizing student voices to reopen schools” – May 19, 2021, Dhaka Tribune – The prolonged closure of schools can reverse our success in improved enrollment rate and reduced dropout rate. According to a report by Unicef, 10 million child marriages may occur before the end of the decade, threatening years of progress in reducing the practice. Read More…
“‘We the People’ Believe in a Learner-Centered Future of Education” – May 12, 2021, Education Reimagined – “I have often written about the 21st-century child, their education, and the future that awaits them. This time, however, I pose the question: “What about the 22nd-century child?” If the children of today are to build the world of tomorrow, we must imagine the shape of the 22nd-century and critically look at whether our current systems of education will equip our children to build and live into that future.” Read More…
“Top educational apps for children might not be as beneficial as promised” – May 10, 2021, PennState, EurekAlert.org – Log on to any app store, and parents will find hundreds of options for children that claim to be educational. But new research suggests these apps might not be as beneficial to children as they seem. Read More…
“Eye on Education: Playful learning important for all ages” – April 7, 2021, Daily Republic: Solano County’s News Source – Check out Stephen Davis’s article on the Brookings Institute Policy “A New Path to Education Reform: Playful learning promotes 21st-century skills in schools and beyond” HERE….
We need bold changes to early care and education policies and practices at all levels. At NewAmerica ‘s event “Reimagining Early Care and Education: A New American Vision” which took place on March 30, 2021, we examined why reimagining and investing in early care and education must be a national priority now and explore how to make it a reality for all children. You can watch it HERE…
“Playful learning and 21st-century skills line the path to education reform: Our responses to your questions” – Brookings Institute On January 13, 2021, the Brookings Center for Universal Education (CUE) hosted a virtual event with over 1,000 registered attendees to share our model for 21st century education reform and discuss the educational priorities of researchers, educators, policymakers, and employers. During the event, Kathy and colleagues received an influx of audience questions on 21st century education reform, the of playful learning principles, and the 6Cs. In her latest blog post, Kathy and colleagues respond to these questions. READ MORE…
“A new path to education reform: The next chapter on 21st century skills” – On January 13, 2021, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) hosted a webinar to discuss a path to educational reform. Following a brief overview of the recent Policy 2020 report “A new path to education reform: Playful learning promotes 21st-century skills in schools and beyond” by Brookings Fellow Helen Hadani, a panel of experts, including Kathy, shared their various perspectives on how to remake education, foster educational equity, and prepare students for a better future. Watch the Webinar here…
RECENT BLOG POSTS
- Brookings Institute: “A little cash goes a long way to support early childhood and development.” January 25, 2022.
- Brookings Institute: “Global education trends and research to follow in 2022.” January 24, 2022.
- Brookings Institute: “The ‘real’ economic advantage of investing in families this holiday season.” November 30, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Holiday shopping in gender-neutral toy aisles? Playing for the future.” November 10, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “High-quality early child care and education: The gift that lasts lifetime.” November 4, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Understanding child-friendly urban design: A framework to measure Playful Learning Landscapes outcomes.” October 19, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Supporting families supports the economy: Social nets are economic foundations.” September 27, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “What if teaching mirrored how human brains learn?” August 10, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Rush to summer school? A moment for celebration and caution.” May 13, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Building back better: The promise of the American Rescue Plan for education.” April 9, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Looking for an educational life raft? Apps may not be the answer.” March 22, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Playful learning and 21st-century skills line the path to education reform: Our responses to your questions.” February 17, 2021.
- The Hechinger Report: How can we prevent a generation of pandemic-isolated misfits? January 27, 2021.
- AAAS Science Blog Post: “Children need unstructured exploration and time to tackle problems that interest them” – Book Review of “The Intellectual Lives of Children” by Susan Engel (2021), January 5, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “COVID-19 sparks an overdue discussion on education reform: An optimistic vision.” January 4, 2021.
- Brookings Institute: “Rebuilding America’s schools: The new secretary of education will need to prioritize both access and breadth of skills”. December 23, 2020.
- Child and Family Blog: “Why are we still at home?” Fostering Children’s Questions During COVID19. December 3, 2020.
- Brookings: Does reopening schools lead to increased life expectancy? The data aren’t so simple. November 23, 2020.
- Brookings: An unprecedented time in education demands unprecedented change. November 13, 2020.
- Brookings: The missing piece: Where is ‘education’ in the national conversation? October 12, 2020.
The Ultimate Playbook: Co-Design in Action
Kathy is a co-founder of The Ultimate Playbook℠ inviting teachers, coaches, school and district leaders to join as a district to confidently co-design effective and equitable educational communities through the power of play and learning science.
The first step in The Ultimate Playbook design is getting to know what makes your community unique, and understanding your goals for students and teachers. For more information, visit our website https://www.theultimateplaybook.org/.
Learning Sciences Exchange (LSX) Program
Kathy is a co-founder of the Learning Sciences Exchange Program, a one-of-a-kind fellowship program bringing together 15 fellows, three each from five different sectors — science, policy, journalism, entertainment, and social entrepreneurship– who participate for 2 years. She is also on the Steering Committee.
Breakthroughs and insights now emerge regularly from the early learning sciences. Yet they are slow to make their way into schools, family support systems, and the social consciousness in positive ways. Too often, new findings on children 0-8 are either left to wilt in inaccessible academic journals, contorted by splashy headlines, or too complicated to lead to real policy changes. One major contributor to this problem: Journalists, storytellers (such as movie producers), policy influencers, and learning scientists have no incentive to take the time to listen to each other, grapple with problems together, and gain a deeper understanding of the other’s mission and work….
The Learning Sciences Exchange Program is designed to address this problem. LSX is a one-of-a-kind fellowship program that brings together 15 fellows, three each from the five sectors (science, policy, journalism, entertainment, and social entrepreneurship), who participate for 2 years. The fellows hail from multiple countries in Europe and North America. Each participant enjoys time for cross-disciplinary thinking and writing about how to bring ideas in learning science to fruition and about how to communicate them with the greatest influence.
LSX is led in partnership among New America, the International Congress of Infant Studies, and the Jacobs Foundation. For more information, see our frequently asked questions below, the press release announcing our launch, and a blog post on why we developed the program.