Grants will fund study of active, playful learning and improvements to CSDC facility

Thursday, August 31, 2023
Children and teacher at CSDC

Kimberly Nesbitt and children at CSDC.

With a new grant from the Lego Foundation, UNH will join with Temple University in expanding active, playful teaching and learning in elementary school classrooms. UNH will receive $1.3 million of the nearly $20 million grant.

While the five-year interventional study will follow children from pre-K through fourth grade in under-resourced schools in California, Illinois, Texas and Virginia, it is based on work that UNH has been doing for the past four years to meet the 2018 state mandate for play-based learning in kindergarten. That work continues with 20 teachers in six Manchester kindergarten classrooms this academic year.

“Research shows that making learning more active, engaging, social, meaningful and joyful allows students to better develop the skills they need to thrive in school and in the modern world,” says Kimberly Nesbitt, associate professor of human development and family studies.

Separately, UNH recently received $1 million in congressional funding to support much-needed upgrades to UNH-Durham’s Child Study and Development Center (CSDC). The grant money will provide upgrades to CSDC’s research and observation booths and video and audio systems, and will be used to purchase developmentally appropriate equipment and materials.

“This grant will enable more academic research opportunities for faculty, staff and students, allowing UNH to increase educational offerings for New Hampshire’s early care and education workforce,” says Lisa Ranfos, clinical associate professor and CSDC executive director. The CSDC currently serves more than 350 UNH students annually by providing a setting for professional fieldwork for more than 30 courses.