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Finding Proof That the Right Toys In The First Years of Life Can Change a Child’s Future

Glaucia Maciel, owner of 2 progressive preschools in Brazil (STEPS Baby Lounge), has always known that if underprivileged kids were also exposed to the right tools and toys to stimulate their brain in the first couple of years of life, their destiny could change.

Glaucia Marciel

Glaucia Marciel

Realizing that her theory is supported by many top early childhood education specialists from all over the world, she set out to find a like-minded financial partner to help her prove it. Enter, Grand Challenges Canada, whose Saving Brains grants have been set up for this very purpose. She presented her ideas and methodology, collected over 14 years of running preschools, to the committee, calling it Steps Brain Booster Program.

In the Steps Brain Booster methodology, babies divide their time between activities that stimulate psychomotor skills, artistic expression and musical sensitivity. Kits would provide 200 toys and 48 lessons plans to train the teachers at pilot test schools in 3 of the poorest communities in Sao Paulo.

Key to the success of the proposed program, was to find a high quality educational toy company willing to provide the majority of toys needed for these special kits. If the project later rolled out, that same company needed to have mechanisms in place to be able to distribute the toys or kits all over the world in an efficient manner. When Glaucia discovered Guidecraft, she knew it was a perfect fit. Guidecraft, in turn, was more than pleased to help with such a worthy cause.

Now that Grand Challenges has funded the pilot test, which is currently running in Brazil, Glaucia and Guidecraft are looking to the future and planning for a successful outcome.

The President of Grand Challenges Canada, Peter Singer, says he sees huge potential for social impact.  Brazil alone has 16 million households with children under 6 years old. According to Singer, the global trend in the study of child development has changed focus. Before devoted to child survival, “the aim now is to create opportunities for them to thrive and break cycles of poverty.” Led by visionary Glaucia Maciel, Guidecraft is delighted to be a part of just that.

Learn more details about the Steps Brain Booster Program here!

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Guidecraft’s New IO Blocks® Wins The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval

Guidecraft is extremely happy to announce that IO Blocks® has now also won the Seal of Approval from the venerable National Parenting Center.  The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval program is an independent testing procedure conducted to judge a variety of products introduced and marketed to the parent/child consumer market. For 25 years, TNPC has been providing consumer reports for parents and has a reputation for being one of the most trusted sources of information on children’s toys. This season, IO Blocks® is the only building toy to receive this special recognition.

The National Parenting Center’s Fall Report and a specific IO Blocks® review page is now posted on it’s highly visited website. It is also distributed to 4700 media outlets, blogs and TV station websites and to buyers at over 350 major retail and on-line stores including Amazon, Walmart and Target.

In The National Parenting Center’s Report, the team of reviewers very favorably IO Blocks® to other building toys: “This IO Blocks set is a terrific first building toy and according to several testers is an alternative to a more well-known building block brand. These blocks come in great colors that are not derived from your standard palette. The unique shapes are easy and comfortable to grip and don’t have sharp edges or pointy corners that have hobbled many a parent who has stepped on one in the middle of the night. The pieces fit together very easily and actually stay together. This allows children the freedom to think outside their usual “building box” and expand their creativity. Many parents told us that their children didn’t experience the frustrations that occur with other blocks that don’t stay together if they aren’t correctly aligned. A major difference you will notice immediately is that these blocks do not have small peg fittings, instead they use a tongue and groove style that is large enough for a young child to manipulate easily. Parents were very impressed by the quality of the blocks which are durable and hollow, making them lightweight and safer.”

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