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NHSA Announces Partnership with Imagination Foundation and Lakeshore Learning

June 25, 2014

The National Head Start Association and the Imagination Foundation, in Partnership with Lakeshore Learning, Announce their Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action in Early STEM Education

Washington, DC – Today, at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting, the National Head Start Association (NHSA) and the Imagination Foundation, along with Lakeshore Learning Materials, announced their CGI Commitment to Action to introduce Creative Play and early STEM learning to Pre-K environments in our nation’s most at-risk communities. The partnership commits to engaging 1,000 Head Start centers and at least 30,000 children in the Global Cardboard Challenge over three years, beginning in the fall of 2014.

The Global Cardboard Challenge is an annual event presented by the Imagination Foundation that celebrates child creativity in communities around the world. Inspired by the viral short film, ‘Caine’s Arcade,’ the Challenge is an opportunity for children to build whatever they can imagine out of cardboard and recycled materials. This process develops problem solving, teamwork, invention and other 21st century skills through Creative Play. This partnership will be the first large-scale national effort to introduce STEM learning to early childhood environments.

This announcement follows on the heels of the first ever White House Maker Faire and proclamation of June 18th as the “National Day of Making.” In his proclamation, President Obama writes “I am calling on people across the country to join us in sparking creativity and encouraging invention in their communities.”

“The Global Cardboard Challenge is an opportunity to foster the creative talents that all children naturally possess, “ says Mike McGalliard, Executive Director of the Imagination Foundation. “By introducing the Challenge to Head Start centers across America, we can fuel the imagination and ingenuity of our Nation’s youngest children, and get them ready for 21st century life and work.”

Many of America’s youth are not engaged in authentic STEM learning until later in their education, if at all. But child-directed inquiry, problem-based learning, and hands-on experimentation, are avenues to introduce young children to STEM learning even in an early childhood setting. This kind of learning simulates their creative abilities and helps them develop a strong understanding of more complex STEM concepts as they get older.

“Watching a child’s creativity come alive is truly an amazing sight to see and the Global Cardboard Challenge is the perfect way to encourage it,” said Kevin Carnes, Lakeshore President. “We’re tremendously honored to partner with NHSA and the Imagination Foundation to bring this inspiring event to life through thousands of kids in Head Start programs nationwide.”

Lakeshore Learning Materials has committed to developing materials to inform and promote Challenge events, distribute promotional materials around the country and provide logistical and operational support at local events.

“We are proud to partner with Imagination Foundation and Lakeshore Learning to bring this incredible opportunity to at-risk children in Head Start programs across the nation,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “Communities served by Head Start represent the nation’s most vulnerable children and families, who have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields. This partnership will provide valuable experiences to encourage and support Creative Play and STEM learning in Pre-K environments, laying the foundation for a lifetime of success.”

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The National Head Start Association is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 200,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grantees in the United States. Visit www.nhsa.org and follow @NatlHeadStart for more information.

Imagination Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission is to find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world to raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers who have the tools they need to build the world they imagine. They were born out of the overwhelming global success of the short film, ‘Caine’s Arcade.’ Their work now impacts over 50 countries and 100,000 children. Visit www.imagination.is and follow @imagination for more information. Imagine the world we can build!™

Lakeshore Learning Materials is a leading developer and retailer of top-quality materials for early childhood education programs, elementary schools and homes nationwide. Since 1954, Lakeshore has offered innovative learning materials distinguished by their quality, educational merit and safety. Lakeshore—Products Designed with Learning in Mind™