A couple of days ago, John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation, and Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group, announced a series of important initiatives that launched to help support families through these unprecedented times, whatever circumstances they may be in. Below is the full press-release with all the relevant information, links, etc.
The LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation Support Children and Families Impacted by COVID-19
With many families staying at home and millions more facing job, food, and medical insecurity, the LEGO Foundation and the LEGO Group have joined forces to address the critical needs of children in these unprecedented times.
We have created two important initiatives to aid all children – from the most vulnerable in refugee camps and war-torn countries to those waiting out a community quarantine.
The first initiative is a US $50 million donation by the LEGO Foundation to support children most in need and ensure they continue to have access to learning through play which helps develop life-long skills. The donation will be split between three groups of partners. They are: Education Cannot Wait, which provides education for children caught in emergencies and protracted crises; a selection of existing LEGO Foundation partners whose work with children and families is under additional pressure from COVID-19; and charity partners serving communities where the LEGO Group has a significant presence. Our aim is to urgently reach crisis-affected children with essential supplies and provide support to continue learning through play.
“We know it is difficult that children are away from their classrooms and their regular learning environments. We want to help parents and families do their best and we know that when children play, they learn. They learn life-long skills such as collaboration, communication and problem solving. We’re committed to continuing to support, develop, and inspire children through this tumultuous time.” – Niels B Christiansen, CEO, the LEGO Group
Our second initiative is inspired by the magnitude of the impact of the crisis on children’s education. UNESCO estimates that more than 160 countries have implemented nationwide school closures, impacting 87% of world’s student population. That’s more than 1.5 billion school-aged children who are currently out of school, a number that is only likely to increase in the coming weeks.
So we’ve assembled our designers, STEM gurus, creatives and play experts. We’ve dug through our archives and come up with new ways to provide fun, play-based learning ideas to children and parents. Our hope is to alleviate some of the strain and stress for families while keeping children engaged and curious. We’ve created LEGO.com/LetsBuildTogether and launched #letsbuildtogether across our social channels as a way to share building ideas, daily challenges set by LEGO designers, retro builds, and live build-a-longs with fans everywhere.
Play experts from the LEGO Foundation will also share ways to inspire learning through all types of play, which will help children develop life-long skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and problem solving while out of school.
“We cannot let COVID-19 setback a generation of children. Research shows that while learning through play is vital for children’s psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development, it also hones the resilience they need to overcome adversity and build their futures. We must support all children, including the most vulnerable in society, to ensure they continue to have access to education and develop skills critical for them to thrive in a constantly changing world. We are honored to be able to collaborate and support Education Cannot Wait and our other partners who are working extremely hard in unforgiving circumstances to bring education, hope and a future to the most vulnerable children.” – John Goodwin, CEO, the LEGO Foundation
Many of us are fortunate to have technology. Our hope is that while we may not be able to meet physically, we can connect, share our creativity, and inspire each other. Caring for children’s wellbeing and development has been at the heart of our culture for more than 85 years. We are proud to continue this tradition and to do our part. It’s an extraordinarily difficult time, but together we can support each other, be inspired, be safe and learn through play.
“We are grateful that the LEGO Foundation has stepped forward as the first private sector partner to contribute to our COVID-19 response. This generous donation will allow Education Cannot Wait to scale up its support of a coordinated response among governments, UN agencies, and civil society organizations to bring a glimmer of hope to children of all ages in the most crisis-affected countries in the world. Learning must continue in the midst of the pandemic. The LEGO Foundation’s commitment to learning through play is a shining example of what’s possible and we encourage more philanthropic, private sector and government donor partners to come forward.” – Yasmine Sherif, Education Cannot Wait Director
This latest donation adds to the US$212 million in grants the LEGO Foundation has made during the past 18 months to bring learning through play to children affected by crises. This includes a US$100 million grant awarded to International Rescue Committee and its consortium of partners in December 2019; a US$12.5 million grant awarded to Education Cannot Wait in September 2019 and US$100 million grant awarded to Sesame Workshop in December 2018. For more information about the LEGO Foundation and Education Cannot Wait, visit LEGOFoundation.com and EducationCannotWait.org.
“We’ve been amazed by the creativity shown by children and adults around the world while they stay at home. We’re grateful for the calls, emails and messages from fans who say LEGO play is helping to comfort them. It’s more important than ever that we find ways to stay connected, supported and inspired in order to safeguard our health and wellbeing. Play is a great way to do this, and we want to support LEGO fans of all ages to build and play. The amazing team at the LEGO Group came up with the idea for #letsbuildtogether as a way to offer support and inspiration to parents as they face the challenge of keeping children engaged and educated at home while juggling their own work and wellbeing.” – Julia Goldin, Chief Marketing Officer, the LEGO Group
“With many parents worried about juggling work with childcare and schooling, play could be one of the easiest, and most fun ways of supporting a child’s education and development. Children say they learn best when activities feel like play, while 9 in 10 parents feel that play helps their child develop key skills such as resilience, collaboration, creativity and communication. Not only is play essential to a child’s development, but it benefits the whole family too. Parents say that playing with their child is good for their own wellbeing and happiness and importantly in tough times, it also helps them relax and connect with their children.” – David Pallash, LEGO Play Agent
In addition to these initiatives, the LEGO Ideas team also launched an activity where anyone can share their great ideas of what to play, build, create while at home – to help and inspire families with children at home. Ideas could include fun games, learning math, numbers, and shapes, making stop-motion videos, drawing, crafts, etc. If you have a step-by-step guide, video, etc. for a LEGO project that educational or entertaining and could be built by a child, the LEGO Ideas team would love to see it. Approved project will be posted on the LEGO Ideas page, and possibly on LEGO’s social media channels. Visit LEGOIdeas.com/Activities/LetsBuildTogether.
What do you think? Do you use LEGO for educational purposes in your family? Do you have any ideas that you would like to let others know about? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!
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