The LEGO Foundation is making Braille Bricks available to visually impaired children in 20 countries around the world.
In 2019, the LEGO Group announced a pilot for Braille Bricks, an initiative from the LEGO Foundation intended to help visually impaired children learn the tactile way of communicating. After a successful trial period, Braille Bricks are being rolled out to 20 countries around the world over the next six months. They are already being made available Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, UK, and USA.
The concept is designed as a way to help children with vision impairment develop tactile skills and learn the braille system. Each brick is moulded with different studs, so they reflect letters and numbers from the braille system, but also connect together as typical LEGO bricks do.
“With these Braille Bricks, the LEGO Foundation has created a totally new and engaging way for children with vision impairment to learn to read and write,” says David Clarke, Director of Services at the Royal National Institute of Blind People. “Braille is an important tool, particularly for young people with vision impairment, and these cleverly designed bricks enable children to learn braille creatively while also engaging with their classmates in a fun and interactive way.”
Partners such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People will distribute the Braille Bricks sets in each country that they are launched in, with the sets provided for free to select institutions, schools and services catering to the education of children with visual impairment.
More than just a box of bricks, Braille Bricks are intended as an educational tool that will teach more than just the braille alphabet. www.LEGObraillebricks.com hosts resources that can be used in conjunction with the pieces and teachers are encouraged to submit new ideas to the website.
“As an educator, I know LEGO Braille Bricks will be so helpful in bringing together different kinds of learners,” says Paige Maynard, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Developmental Interventionist at Visually Impaired Preschool Services in Louisville, KY. “Students with visual impairments will be able to play and learn alongside their sighted peers. The bricks bring the joy of play into braille and tactile skills instruction. They help remind us that the most impactful and long-lasting learning occurs when children are actively engaged in activities they enjoy.”
“We are thrilled to launch the first wave of the LEGO Braille Bricks program and get the toolkits into the hands of children,” says Stine Storm, Senior Play & Health Specialist at the LEGO Foundation. “Throughout the testing and pilot program, we have received overwhelming support and positive feedback from children, parents, teachers and partner organizations who have experienced the LEGO Braille Bricks and see the potential of these toolkits to encourage learning in a new and exciting way. The possibilities for learning through play are endless, and we look forward to seeing how this can inspire children in their journey to learn braille.”