BILLUND, Denmark, June 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The LEGO Foundation has awarded the 2022 LEGO® Prize to Maria Adelaida Lopez, Executive Director aeioTU, in recognition of her work advocating for, and championing learning through play.
Since 1985, the LEGO® Prize has been presented to individuals or organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to the lives of children. The prize is accompanied by $100,000 USD to fund further research and development within learning through play.
Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, Fourth Generation LEGO Owner & Chair of the Board of Directors of the LEGO Foundation, said: “I am delighted to award this year’s LEGO® Prize to Maria Adelaida Lopez for her critical role championing learning through play in early childhood development in Colombia and Latin America and for inspiring and encouraging her wide network of contacts in this space to bring learning through play opportunities to thousands of children.”
The Colombian social enterprise aeioTU has worked for over a decade with the aeioTU Educational Model, which recognises children as protagonists and co-builders of their learning, building their confidence and a sense of security to explore, ask, inquire, and create through participating in learning through play experiences.
“The LEGO Foundation has had a significant impact on the growth and strengthening of aeioTU, and also to my own personal and professional development. Having the LEGO Foundation by my side, together creating a better, more playful and more meaningful environment for children, their educators and families, has opened up opportunities for aeioTU to contribute towards ending the cycle of poverty that affects thousands of children. It has allowed us to empower the early educational system in our beloved country, Colombia, as well as in Panama and Mexico,” said Maria Adelaida Lopez, Executive Director of aeioTU. “It is an honour for me to receive this recognition on behalf of aeioTU and, at the same time, dedicate it to all the people that have taught me so much and made aeioTU what we are today.”
The prize was awarded at the annual LEGO Idea Conference, hosted by the LEGO Foundation. An ideal playground for merging play, partnerships, programme learnings and policy ambitions, the LEGO Idea Conference offers opportunities for hands-on, minds-on play, exciting announcements, celebrations, inspirational knowledge-sharing and debates. With 2022 turning into a year of opportunities in the education space, the LEGO Idea Conference also serves as the key event for the LEGO Foundation to frame global conversations around transforming education systems.
This year’s conference brings together hundreds of partners from across the world, including researchers, government representatives, educators, and practitioners to discuss and explore how we can take playful learning beyond the classroom to transform learning systems together – to give as many children as possible the opportunity to learn through play and develop the skills they need now and in the future. Through the focus on transforming learning systems the LEGO Idea Conference is proud to host notable speakers, in-person and virtually. Speakers include Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF and Charles North, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education, as they debate early childhood development, financing the transformation of learning systems and inclusive learning systems – with a special focus on children in conflict areas and on the move.
“Together with partners and global decision makers, we can transform learning systems to ensure that every child, regardless of background, gets the opportunity to develop through a joyful, meaningful, lifelong learning journey, infused with the power of play. That’s the focus of this year’s LEGO Idea Conference, acting as a stepping stone on a larger journey to transform the lives of millions of children across the world together with the global education, learning and early childhood community,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, Chief Executive Officer of the LEGO Foundation.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the LEGO Foundation
The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for learning through play. Learn more on www.LEGOfoundation.com.
aeioTU is a Colombian social enterprise that develops the potential of children under five years old to transform communities through an innovative pedagogical model. With a model centred around collaboration, aeioTU delivers programmes to help parents, caregivers, teachers, and practitioners fully understand why play is so important and build the skills they need to ensure that children get the greatest benefits from it. www.aeiotu.com
Rikke Bruntse Dahl