LEGO looks to move Education Center concept to North America
Denmark-based construction-toy heavyweight LEGO is prepping to plant its Education Center concept on North American soil. The branded centers began popping up in Asia in 2001, and are expected to take root on this side of the Atlantic next year. The centers host private after-school programs that offer educational enrichment through hands-on activities using LEGO materials.
A previous licensing agreement with New York-based ALC Education Group failed to bring the planned spring 2006 U.S. launch to fruition, and LEGO is now on the hunt for a new partner to get the venture off the ground.
‘Normally we deal with trade partners and distributors who then deal with the schools and the kindergartens,’ says Lene Friss, operations director of the LEGO Educational Division in Denmark. ‘But these centers are the only place where we have so many touch points in the community; it’s really significant for us.’
Operated by Friss’s division, the centers use curriculums specially developed for kids ages three to 16 that make use of LEGO blocks to aid learning through play. Initially mounted as an after-school activity initiative in Korea, the enterprise has successfully grown to encompass more than 150 centers – 140 in Korea, seven in Japan, two in Singapore and one plus one more to come in Australia. About 40,000 Korean kids attend the Education Centers and receive home-schooling based on the program. Each center has approximately 200 kids registered. The lessons run between 45 minutes and an hour in length, and are based on an international curriculum developed by LEGO Education, which is then locally adapted.