Already well into the 21st century, we are painfully aware that many of our education systems are not equipping children to fully embrace a future that needs creative critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.

It is estimated that 250 million children are not learning the basic skills like reading or writing even after several years in primary education and most schools, with their over emphasis on testing of knowledge retention instead of developing real-world skills, have not adapted to the fast-paced social, economic and technological changes that are re-defining our world.

To address this global learning crisis, we urgently need to rethink education systems. A growing body of evidence supports that play is fundamental for children’s positive development and is a powerful way to foster the breadth of skills – in particular creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration – required to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

The LEGO Foundation is committed to making sure that the value of learning through play is understood, embraced and acted upon to help education systems to be able to help children become creative, engaged, lifelong learners and ready for the opportunities of the 21st century. For the past 10 years we have been working closely with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF in South Africa to achieve this mission and I am honored and excited to be co-hosting the first conference in Africa exploring learning through play.

John Goodwin
The LEGO Foundation