Soon, area children will have an opportunity to learn intricate science concepts while they play with LEGO plastic bricks.
North Porters William Budai and his wife Robyn hold a piece of the Bricks 4 Kidz franchise, which uses LEGO bricks to introduce engineering, architectural, math and science concepts to kids ages 3-13.
“Robyn just completed her master’s degree in education and was looking for a school to work in,” Budai said. “The economic downturn narrowed her employment opportunities as a teacher, and we came across this concept of educating children.”
Bricks 4 Kidz was founded by Michelle Cote in St. Augustine, Fla., in 2008. She began a creative science class using LEGO bricks that has now grown to encompass 100 franchises around the world, according to the company’s website.
“We bought the franchise in September, and start business on Jan. 8,” Budai said. “Our first class will be held at First Alliance Church in Port Charlotte, just off Midway Boulevard. We’re also contracting with Sallie Jones Elementary School in Punta Gorda, and are working with other schools to get in with them as well.”
Budai added the program is all about introducing science to children in a new and fun way.
“It’s about children understanding what makes things work and how to make things better,” he said. “It’s also about developing children’s social skills. They work in teams, so it’s about developing their cognitive awareness — how to look at something and put it together. It taps into a deeper way of teaching kids. They don’t even realize they’re learning, they’re having so much fun.”
As an example, Budai pointed to a Bricks 4 Kidz workshop called “Exploring the Everglades,” which teaches about the varied animal and plant life there.
“While they’re learning about that, they’ll be building working models of different animals,” he said. “We have a model of a motorized frog, which actually jumps across the table. Or a spider, or a snake, or a dragonfly, whose wings move. Building them gives kids an appreciation of how they have evolved and how they fit into the ecosystem.”
Bricks 4 Kidz programs are varied, ranging from after school programs and preschool classes to birthday parties, field trips and educational camps.
“We have a robotics program that offers some pretty high-tech stuff,” Budai said. “And it’s a great stepping stone for kids who really want to achieve in middle school and go into high school, and maybe actually pursue a secondary education in engineering.”
Enrollment for the program is done online and costs $12 per class for a series of six classes. The first 20 children to register for a class get the first session free. Currently offered classes take place after school, but Budai said down the road, schools would incorporate Bricks 4 Kidz sessions as “in-school field trips,” where they would bring their curriculum into the school during regular school hours.
“Our plan, within a year to a year and a half, is to open our own creativity center,” he said.
For more information, visit www.bricks4kidz.com, or call the Budais at 941-525-3366.