As a new company, can you talk about any obstacles that were surpassed while developing Paige & Paxton? Also, can you talk about any successes that have influenced where the company will go?
Kelley: Where do we begin? Like most startups, the biggest challenge has been timely access to capital. It’s something that we have to manage constantly so that we can continue to grow the business. Another challenge is balancing marketing and sales with product development and production.
One of our major successes has been our partnership with Chicago Public Schools. It has definitely helped to define our mission in terms of introducing children 6 and under to science and technology in a way that is fun and engaging. My mom has this philosophy about play being the work of children. When I was growing up I had an awesome childhood, but when I think about it, my mom made learning—fun. When we played Uno, I was always appointed “score keeper.” This responsibility made me feel so important that I took special care to make sure that all my calculations were correct. Of course, it was my mom’s way of getting math into the equation. That was our vision for the Paige & Paxton line. We wanted our books, toys and games to be educational but not “instructional,” by providing context and relevance and instilling a love of learning.
Our partnership with CPS has helped us validate this approach and concept. We have been delighted that Paige & Paxton materials have provided solutions for them on multiple levels—from STEM education to career counseling to literacy programs.
Rachel: The potential to create community wide change is what excites us the most. Paige & Paxton resource materials can break down some of the obstacles and barriers that prevent educators working in less than ideal environments from introducing STEM to students.
For young children, physical materials such as puzzles and activity sheets are pedagogically superior because they enable educators to work on critical early childhood developmental skills. But just as significantly, the traditional format makes the Paige & Paxton series affordable and accessible. Paige & Paxton lessons require no special technology or special training. Educators can easily integrate STEM topics into their existing curriculum, by spending a few minutes reviewing the Paige & Paxton lesson plans and then beginning instruction.
We recognize that genius that is hidden in challenging environments and we are on a mission to give school systems, educators and parents the power to introduce the exciting and lucrative field of STEM to students no matter where they live or what their circumstance.
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