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Maria Adelaida Lopez, Executive Director aeioTU, Announced as Winner of the 2022 LEGO® Prize Award

Within the framework of The LEGO Idea Conference, organized by the LEGO Foundation in Billund, Denmark, the LEGO® 2022 Prize was awarded to Maria Adelaida López, Executive Director of aeioTU. This recognition praises her work as a leader in early childhood education in Colombia and Latin America.

Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth generation of the LEGO® family of owners and Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: “I am delighted to award this year's LEGO® Award to María Adelaida López for championing learning through play in the development of early childhood in Colombia and Latin America and for inspiring and encouraging his extensive network in the early childhood development space to bring learning through play to thousands of children.”

Led by María Adelaida López, the Colombian social enterprise aeioTU has been working for more than 14 years with the aeioTU Educational Model, which recognizes children as protagonists and co-builders of their learning, building their confidence and security to explore, investigate, investigate and create from their participation in learning through playful experiences. As well as offering programs to help parents, caregivers, teachers and principals understand why play is so important and what their role can be in helping children reap the greatest benefits. aeioTU's work is designed to strengthen skills by introducing new techniques while ensuring that existing local best practices are supported and shared across communities.

Maria Adelaida is the first Colombian to receive this important recognition and during her speech she highlighted the encouragement that this award brings to continue strengthening the work for quality education for children under 5 years of age:

“At aeioTU we celebrate diversity and connect with the power of the collective, we close social gaps, we strengthen culture, we listen to educators, we influence children's families, we empower our staff, we mobilize other actors around our vision of ecosystem change and we influence public policy, which has allowed us to become leaders in the early childhood ecosystem. Today we have impacted the lives of more than 500,000 children, this award is an encouragement to continue working with them and for them, to continue with our mission of transforming communities”.

Since 1985, the LEGO® Prize has been awarded to individuals or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to the lives of children and the transformation of education. The award is accompanied by a cash award of $100,000 USD to further research and development within learning through play. With these resources, the aeioTU team will work on a project to implement circular economy strategies where, with recovered material, pedagogical tools for early childhood will be created. The project will be carried out with the teachers, families and children of Ciudad Bicentenario in Cartagena Colombia.

“The LEGO Foundation has meant a lot for the growth and strengthening of aeioTU, and also for my own personal and professional development. Having the LEGO Foundation by my side, building together a better, playful and more meaningful present for children, their educators and their families, has opened up opportunities for aeioTU to help contribute to ending the cycle of poverty for thousands of children and empower the educational system in our beloved country, Colombia, as well as in Panama and Mexico.” María Adelaida López, Executive Director of aeioTU.

About the LEGO Foundation

The LEGO Foundation aims to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow; a mission that it shares with the LEGO Group. The LEGO Foundation is dedicated to building a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, lifelong learners. Its work is about re-defining play and re-imagining learning. In collaboration with thought leaders, influencers, educators and parents the LEGO Foundation aims to equip, inspire and activate champions for learning through play. Learn more on www.LEGOfoundation.com.

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