LEGO Play Accelerator Baseline Report

The Play Accelerator research partner grant presents a unique opportunity to examine five large-scale educational interventions focused on improving learning through play (in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Vietnam, respectively). One aspect of this activity is determining if and how these five programs change the practice and attitudes of key education stakeholder and whether or not this leads to improved holistic learning outcomes through increasing playful pedagogies. This, in turn, will generate much-needed rigorous evidence on implementing playful pedagogies successfully through government teacher professional development systems at scale. Due to prolonged school closures and other obstacles resulting from COVID-19, this report presents baseline findings collected between June and November 2021 from three of the five Play Accelerator partner programs: Partners in Play Program (P3) implemented by Right to Play in Ghana; Tucheza Kujifunza (TuKu) implemented by Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) in Kenya; and the Scaling Learning Through Play program implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Rwanda. The goal of this report is to provide comprehensive baseline estimates for these three Learning through Play (LtP) programs. These results will serve two purposes: 1) to provide a starting point against which program impact will be measured at midline and endline, and 2) to provide programs with data-driven recommendations of areas to focus on for improved implementation throughout the remainder of their programming. While the overall evaluation of these programs includes a wide range of research questions that will be addressed at midline and endline, the baseline study focuses specifically on four main research questions: 1. What are the baseline levels of student literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional learning among Grade 1 students in treatment and control schools? 2. What is the baseline state of teachers’ pedagogical practices in the classroom (including LtP) among Grade 1 teachers in treatment and control schools? 3. What are the baseline perceptions of LtP among school-, district-, and community-level stakeholders? 4. What are the enabling factors associated with implementing LtP pedagogical methods in classrooms? What are the barriers associated with implementing LtP pedagogical methods in classrooms?