AnnMarie Thomas, founder and director of the Playful Learning Lab and Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas, has been awarded the 2020 LEGO Prize by the LEGO Foundation.
The LEGO Foundation has awarded the 2020 LEGO Prize to AnnMarie Thomas, founder and director of the Playful Learning Lab and Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas. She was recognised for her work advocating for and catalysing learning through play.
Since being introduced in 1985, the LEGO Prize has been awarded to those making an outstanding contribution to the lives of children and are champions of learning through play. It is accompanied by a cash award of $100,000 to further research and development in the area of learning through play.
“I am very honored to receive this year’s 2020 LEGO Prize Award and immensely honoured to join the ranks of other recipients working to bring the power of learning through play to all students,” says Thomas. “The LEGO Foundation is re-defining play and re-imagining learning to ensure that every child has the broad set of skills they need to thrive and succeed in life, and that is a mission I admire. This Prize will allow the Playful Learning Lab to increase the scale of our work, in collaboration with our friends at Minnesota Children’s Museum and Metro Deaf School.”
The LEGO Idea Conference was forced to take place virtually this year as Denmark has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak and other countries arounds the world are at various stages of dealing with the virus. The theme for 2020 was ‘Making Creativity Happen: How Can We Cultivate Creative Skills For All Children?’.
“In this age of rapid innovation, children will encounter unimaginable advances and have to navigate unpredictable dilemmas, and the traditional learning method of fact memorization and regurgitation is not sufficient to enable them to survive and thrive in this environment. Instead, education systems must proactively incorporate solutions to enable children to develop a breadth of skills — including physical, social, cognitive, emotional and, especially, creativity,” says John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation. “This year’s virtual conference gathered Creativity Champions from all over the world to learn how caregivers, teachers and government systems can leverage approaches such as learning through play to help children develop their creativity, as a skill and a mindset to carry with them for their lifetimes.”