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Dr Ben Mardell (USA) 

Playing with spiders: The uprising must include more than people

Ben Mardell is not just an educator; he is a visionary who has dedicated his life to unlocking the limitless potential of young minds. With an illustrious career spanning four decades, he has been at the forefront of innovative educational practices that inspire both teachers and students alike. 


Nowadays, you'll find him inspiring young minds as the atelierista at Newtowne School and collaborating on exciting projects as a research affiliate at Longlong Kindergarten at the MIT Media Lab. Ben's journey has taken him from teaching infants and toddlers to preschoolers and kindergarteners. He's also delved into research as a principal investigator at Harvard Project Zero and shaped future educators at Lesley University.


Ben’s research has profoundly influenced how we understand the critical early years of a child's development. His groundbreaking work on children’s play, learning, and the development of creativity has reshaped classrooms around the globe, fostering environments where curiosity, imagination, and joy are at the heart of learning. His dedication to empowering educators through professional development and relentless pursuit of excellence in education have earned him accolades and respect from peers worldwide.


Ben is a co-author of a number of publications, including Visible Learners: Promoting Reggio-Inspired Approaches in All Schools, Making Learning Visible: Children as Individual and Group Learners, Children at the Center: Transforming Early Childhoods Education in the Boston Public Schools, and A Pedagogy of Play: Supporting Playful Learning in Classrooms and Schools. He also penned From Basketball to the Beatles: In Search of Compelling Early Childhood Curriculum and Growing Up in Child Care: A Case for Quality Early Education. His latest project is Playing with the Sun (


When he's not busy with his educational adventures, Ben loves spending time with his family—hiking, playing games, or participating in triathlons.

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