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Team Spotlight- Yongai Zheng

This month’s featured Guidecraft team member is Zigler’s Director of Education, Yongai Zheng, in our Beijing office. She has been a wonderful addition to our Guidecraft team and we’d love for you to get to know more about her!

yongai-profile

Yongai Zheng, Director of Education at Zigler.

GC: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your life growing up?

YZ: I was born in HeBei province, which is very close to Beijing. I grew up with a lot of recognition and support from my family, because I performed very well in school and was admitted into Beijing Normal University without having to take the National Higher Education Entrance Examination (which was a first for BNU).

GC: Tell us a little about your family.

YZ: I have a happy and lovely family with my husband and 8-year-old daughter. My husband has a very good job as a public officer in the financial department in the Beijing municipal level government. Aside from his work, he is responsible for taking care of our family, which is what I like about him most. He is popular among family and friends because he is always thinking more about others than himself. My daughter is a pretty, smart and sensitive girl. When we came back from United States last September it only took her two months to catch up in her classes. Now she not only performs excellently in school but also takes charge of some duties as a class committee member. I am so happy for her rapid progress.

GC: I heard you spent a year at Yale, how was your experience and what did you do?

YZ: It was so amazing! I love the Zigler Center, Yale University, and New Haven. It was so great to spend the whole year with the Yale Zigler Center team and create the Yale-China child development ACPPA curriculum, adopted from Kaplan Early Learning’s Learn Every Day curriculum.

GC: How did you come to work at Guidecraft?

YZ: While I was at Yale I helped with the development of the Zigler brand between Yale and Guidecraft, and then fell in love with Guidecraft when I visited their New York office. So now I’m here as a member of the GC family!

Yongai, left, with Dr. Tong Liu, PhD, working in the New York office on the Zigler concept wall.

GC: How would you describe your position?

YZ: I am currently the Education Director at Guidecraft and will be the Director of Education of the Zigler Brand, which was born out of a partnership with Yale, Kaplan Early Learning Company and Guidecraft.

GC: What is your favorite experience working at Guidecraft so far?

YZ: Guidecraft is a company where creativity is respected by everyone and where there is always a supportive team. I’m very passionate about my work here!

GC: Can you describe your experience of becoming a published woman in your field? 

YZ: I received my Bachelor and Masters in Early Childhood Education and worked for 10 years in the preschool education field as a teacher, an administrator, a researcher and a director. However, I think I am always pursuing success in my field.

GC: What has been your proudest professional moment so far? 

YZ: I am most proud after I train or present to teachers and parents, they like my educational theories and suggestions and then apply my work to improve the development of their students or children.

GC: What is some advice you would give someone who wants to go into a similar field?

YZ: Education is not only an occupation but a great career to pursue with your heart because young children are the future of our society.

 

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Vote Today! IO Blocks® Vehicles and Grippies® Builders Nominated for Toy of the Year!

Between now and January 15, 2017, toy lovers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for favorite toys, including IO Blocks Vehicles and Grippies!

On November 21st, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the Finalists for the prestigious 2017 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY) – also known as the “Oscars” of the toy industry and we are proud to announce that both IO Blocks® Vehicles and Grippies® Builders are in! With 700 entrees from over 250 toy companies, both IO Blocks Vehicles and Grippies are among the seven finalists for their categories. This year, Guidecraft is represented in the TOTYs by IO Blocks Vehicles in the Preschool Category and Grippies Builders in the Construction Category.

IO Blocks Vehicles includes 12 vehicle parts to create an unlimited array of vehicles and expands the award-winning building toy system of IO Blocks. This large set of 96 pieces comes with fins, wings, bumpers, cabins, wheels and more. With pixelated, digital world roots, the high-quality design of IO Blocks Vehicles, and its open-ended building possibilities and puzzle-like qualities, makes it a great fit for educators and parents interested in STEM skill development.

In addition to becoming a TOTY Award finalist in the Preschool Category, IO Blocks Vehicles has received the 2016 Tillywig Toy and Media Brain Child Award and the 2016 Play Advances Learning (PAL) award.
The STEM building toy system for toddlers, Grippies Builders combines tactile exploration, magnetic play and an introduction to the basic principles of engineering and geometry. Unique in concept and design, Grippies provide a fun, safe and exploratory experience for toddlers. Watch for Guidecraft to add four new magnetic toys to the Grippies system in 2017 – all of which encourage STEM skill development in toddlers through original designs and the addition of new and exciting features.

Grippies Builders has received accolades from several leading toy industry experts such as the 2016 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, the National Parenting Seal of Approval, and the 2016 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award. See all of the independent Grippies Builders awards and reviews here.

Between now and January 15, 2017, toy lovers of all ages can visit www.toyawards.org to vote for favorite toys (including IO Blocks Vehicles and Grippies!), games and properties across 14 categories and enter to win exclusive prize packages. Winners will be announced at the TOTY gala on February 17th (the day before Toy Fair begins) at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum.

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