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Introducing Block Science

Introducing a new kind of block play: Block Science.

Our entire Block Science system, which debuts this year, is created around physics to harness the energy of play. It is designed to be used with all standard unit blocks and every set includes Concept Cards, or visual cues that show the correlation between the world we live in and how we can shape that world and the related concepts using the Block Science system.

The Foundation Sets exercise early engineering concepts, collaboration, and the study of matter, motion and mathematics. Plastic building and roadway clips stabilize builds, drawbridges and loops to enable taller, sturdier and movable tracks and builds. Simplified, wooden cars with plastic wheels easily glide across the solid wood tracks while carrying algebraic people designed for mathematical and dramatic play activities.

This pioneering extension of the unit blocks system adds a rich layer of cognitive development to traditional classroom block play. To see samples of the Concept Cards, or for more information about the Block Science Foundation Sets and corresponding Unit Blocks Sets, please visit our Block Science Inspiration Page.

Sherry Artemenko, founder of Play on Words, an award-winning speech therapy site where Play Advances Language, experienced our Block Science system first-hand at the New York Toy Fair. To watch her review, please click here.

If you would like to shop our entire Block Science system and corresponding products, please click here.

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Team Spotlight: Ployshaii Tanganuratana

Guidecraft is proud to have Ployshaii (Shaii) Tanganuratana as our May Team Spotlight! Shaii is our Merchandiser in our Thailand Office and we’d love for you to get to know her!

GC: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your life growing up?
I was born in Bangkok and had a simple life in a busy city. Both of my parents work in government services so I am the first in my family to study art and design. Initially, I did not know I had any skills in design until I choose to study science, biology and chemistry in high school. I loved seeing and drawing the colors and shapes of natural objects, such as cells, animals and plants, and that inspired me to study art. My parents are very supportive and try to understand what I do; they’ve even begun to form their own ideas of what they think makes art beautiful.

 

GC: Tell us a little about what you did before you started working at Guidecraft.  

After I graduated, I began to work on exhibitions at a museum design company, Plan Motif Co, life styleLtd., for 7 years. I started as a junior graphic designer and then became a museum designer. I also briefly worked at Index Creative Village, an event and exhibition company. Through them, I have worked on several museums such as the Museum of the Kings of Thailand, Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile, Police Museum, Bank of Thailand Museum, Sleep Museum, Jewelry of Siam Exhibition and the National Park Visitor Center- where I went on multiple hikes while I worked there!

 

GC: How did you come to work at Guidecraft?

The opportunity to work for Guidecraft came the same moment that I wanted to lifestyle. I was looking something other than the museum field and I got a call from Paan, who was my underclassman at school. She was working at Guidecraft and looking for new staff. And now I’m here.

  GC: How would you describe your position?
My position in Guidecraft is Merchandiser. I coordinate booth design for trade show displays and create displays for our products. For our offices and showrooms, I coordinate the layout, planning, display and set up of our brands.

 

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

I like to learn the reason behind each toy. Our toys are simple, easy and fun but they all have HUGE ideas and processes behind them.

 

GC: What are some projects you have done? 

I helped finish the interior design for our office in Shanghai. I have merchandised at both the Shanghai Toy Fair 2016 and Hong Kong Toy Fair 2017 shows while supporting other Toy Fairs that are abroad. Currently, I’m working on the design of our new Thailand office.

  

GC: What has been your proudest professional moment so far?
I love when people get to see my work whenever I finished an exhibit. I’m most proud of my work when people spend time at my exhibits, enjoy themselves and maybe visit again with friends and family.

 

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

Just go and try it! Find a balance between your work and your personal life and you will find the happiest way to work.

 

GC: Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

I love to have variety in my life, even in simple ways. I enjoy changing my style and going out and finding something new, different or fun. I don’t need a plan or a lot of structure, I prefer an easy life.

 

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Team Spotlight: Kristin McCue

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

KM: I grew up in Minnesota within the Gibbon/ Winthrop area on a farm with my family, and I am the youngest of three girls. I am very close with my family- my father and uncle farm together, and the majority of my family still live in the surrounding area. I enjoy spending time with my family and I have an 8-year-old son that keeps me very busy!

GC: Tell us a little about your family.

KM: I have a great family with my husband, Matt, and my intelligent, kind and active 8-year-old son, Lincoln. Since I remained in the Gibbon/Winthrop area, I love the idea that my son is able to go to the same school district that I did. We love the small town life with our family close by. My husband is a Project Manager for a national IT/Infrastructure company and has the luxury of working from home. We were fortunate enough to purchase the same house that my great grandmother lived in, and over the years have remodeled to make it our own home.

GC: How did you come to work at Guidecraft?

KM: I was working in the twin cities area and looking to move back to Winthrop and purchase my great-grandmother’s house. I saw an ad from Guidecraft in the paper and applied for a warehouse position for them, but with my background in computers I was offered a position within the EDI department instead.

GC: How would you describe your position?

KM: I am the Director of IT and Distribution. On a daily basis, I work closely with the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Department and our distribution staff. The EDI Department is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents in a standard electronic format between business partners, so it’s easier to send information such as inventory feeds, purchase orders and invoices to our trading partners. I also manage all IT projects, technical issues and work on how we can improve the technology within Guidecraft.

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

KM: I have been working at Guidecraft going on 10 years, so it is amazing seeing the growth within Guidecraft internationally and how we’ve progressed within my time here.

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

KM: I’m most proud of all of the changes and upgrades to Guidecraft’s technology to help our employees and business grow as a whole. We have implemented a significant amount of technology changes within our company. I am currently working with many of the Guidecraft staff on transitioning our company to a new cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System that will be accessible via the web. In addition, we have established a barcoding and wireless network system in the Minnesota warehouse, which has been a huge change as well.

GC: I hear that you are an EMT. Could you tell me a little about how you became one?

KM: I am a volunteer EMT in Winthrop, and also a casual EMT for Allina in New Ulm. I cherish the fact that I get to help others out in need. I also enjoy being an EMT as well as learning about the medical field. I have always like the science and medical fields, so this was my way to volunteer within my community and give back.

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

KM: Always follow your dreams and think outside the box.

 

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Team Spotlight: Kelly Hernandez


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

I was born in Lima, Peru and moved to New Jersey one month shy of my 6th birthday. New country, new home, new school, new faces and new language. Needless to say, I struggled through the first grade. I do consider myself lucky though, because I had incredible bilingual teachers in elementary school who guided me every step of the way. Before I knew it, I was not only caught up but I was excelling in all subjects. A big part of that was also my supportive parents who taught me from a very young age the value of education.

GC: When did you know that you wanted to go into the education field?

I have always loved school and dreamt of having my own classroom someday. After 8th grade I had the opportunity to attend Passaic County Technical Institute, a vocational high school, where I chose to focus on Child Development. I was 14 years old and indecisive of whether I wanted to branch out into psychology or social work; all I knew for sure was that I wanted to work with children. I wanted to make a difference. Ultimately ECE was the right fit for me and I followed it through college. I attended William Paterson University where I graduated cum laude with a double major in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. I also minored in Liberal Studies with a double focus on English and Anthropology.

GC: How did you come to work at Guidecraft? 

I was hired as a first-grade teacher right after I graduated college. As I was setting up my classroom I received a phone call about a toy company looking for a recent education graduate to write activities and curriculum for their toys. At first I was hesitant. I already had the job I worked hard for, the classroom I had dreamt of and I was ready to make a difference. However, I realized that if I truly wanted to make an impact in the lives of children on a global scale, it would be by joining the Guidecraft family as their ECE Advisor.

GC: How would you describe your position?

I develop games, activities, and higher order thinking questions that stimulate cognitive development, as well as reinforce social-emotional interactions. I work with the designers to bring in an educational point of view for the different products Guidecraft has to offer. I am also the link between Guidecraft and schools. I currently work with William Paterson University sponsoring workshops and professional development opportunities for teachers in STEM

GC: What has been your favorite experience working at Guidecraft?

My favorite experience (so far!) has been bringing my niece and nephew to the office for Gary’s birthday. Their eyes lit up with excitement as they explored the office, and they even claimed that I have the coolest job ever! With everyone laughing and having fun together, you truly get a sense of family here at Guidecraft.

GC: Are there any rules or techniques that you follow as an educator?

My rule is to always put the children first. Their safety is a priority. I’m always asking myself if what I design is developmentally appropriate. I also do a lot of research to keep up with the latest educational strategies and trends. I find that I learn a lot from fellow teachers and other experts.

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

Push yourself. It’s nice to be in a comfortable place doing something you know, but you don’t truly see the extent of your potential until you push yourself into something new. The best adventures always come from taking a leap of faith.

GC: Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

I love learning as much as I love teaching. I guess that is why I enjoy reading and traveling. I also love nature, music, and dancing.

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Team Spotlight: Nidhi Sehgal

This month’s featured Guidecraft team member is our Director of Sales in India, Nidhi Sehgal. She is a wonderful addition to our Guidecraft team and we’d love for you to get to know more about her!

img_0499GC: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your life growing up?

I am originally from Meerut, a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. After high school, I moved to New Delhi to pursue my graduate degree from Lady Irwin College (Delhi University). During my graduate program I became very interested in Child Development, Psychology, and Early Childhood Care & Education. So, I went forward with my master’s degree in Human Development from SNDT Women’s University and was very lucky to spend most of my time on field work. I gained life-enriching experiences during this program working with people from various age groups and socio-economic status. I then started my professional journey with one of the most popular franchisee preschool chains in India.

GC: How did you come to be involved in both the educational and marketing fields?

I got an opportunity to fill in during the absence of the marketing manager for the opening of one of our preschools. It was a success and I accomplished far more than what we expected. This experience fostered my interest into marketing; which prompted me to pursue my second Master’s degree in Marketing Management. I then got into product development building and collaborated with a variety of teams from warehouses to academic fields.

GC: How did you come to work at Guidecraft? 
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