Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you end up in kids’ tech?
Simply put, I just really love kids - they fascinate me, entertain me, and inspire me. I remember running down the street from our house to Superkids Fun Factory, with my resume decked out in sparkly puffy paint and stickers, the day I turned 15 because I was then eligible to work there. I played the role of the super obnoxious racoon in their birthday party shows. :)
Since then I’ve taught kids in one way or another from coaching gymnastics to running science outreach workshops to writing for children magazines. My venture into the tech side happened when I was a reporter for the science and education beats at a newspaper. It was during a time when journalism was shifting from print to web, so I had many opportunities to incorporate media into my storytelling. From that role I transitioned into education tech for kids where I’ve been having fun for the past decade!
In your opinion, why is learning through play so vital for children’s development? And how has being a parent influenced this view?
Kids have such a natural sense of wonder and play that lets them explore those wonders by observing, experimenting, and discovering. My daughter just turned one, so physical play is huge for her to discover how objects feel, taste, and sound and how they interact with each other. Her favorite toy has been her drumstick – for weeks, she’s been whacking everything from the carpet to our glass table to paper bags, squealing at the different sounds she’s making. For older preschoolers, tinkering with physical construction helps them learn about balance, symmetry, focus, and patience. Social play is also huge, as younger kids will imitate and learn from others while in parallel play and older ones play together, communicating, negotiating, and collaborating. Through individual pretend play or social dramatic play with costumes and props, kids learn how to express emotions and understand other perspectives. It’s pretty incredible that the types of play that kids want to engage in also happen to be natural ways of helping them develop language, math, science, and social skills.