Jessica Wall: Girl Power in San Diego

As soon as Jessica Wall saw the job listing for Play-Well San Diego Manager she thought, “I’m built for this! I know science and education! I got this!” It was the perfect opportunity at exactly the right time which created a girl powerhouse in San Diego.

Initially, Jessica was doing pharmaceutical research with her degree in biochemistry but she actually really disliked the environment of being a female in the sciences. She found that her gender greatly impacted other’s perception of her in the workplace. It motivated her to strive to make a difference by becoming a relatable woman in the sciences that girls can see as a role model. Jessica went back to school and got her master in education. She worked as a kindergarten teacher, and although she loved working with kids, the kindergarten classroom wasn’t the right fit either. Then the opening for Play-Well’s San Diego Manager came up, and Jessica knew it would be the ideal blend of education & STEM.

Now she is using her science and math mind to inspire the next generation of females in STEM. Entirely by coincidence, Jessica met the San Diego Girl Scout STEM Coordinator at the gym. They became fast friends, instantly connected by both their love of science and their dog mom pride. Their friendship has led to a collaboration between Play-Well and the Girl Scouts that is helping many young girls earn their STEM badges and spark their passion for the sciences.

San Diego Scouts earning their Robotics Badge with Play-Well.

After one of the first Play-Well Girl Scout Badge workshops in San Diego, a scout mom emailed Jessica. Originally, her daughter really didn’t want to attend the workshop, she didn’t like science or LEGO. Despite her misgivings, her daughter attended the class and had “the best time ever”. Her daughter was already excited for the next workshop and she wanted to know when they could sign up. Receiving that kind of feedback means the world to Jessica and shows her that she’s on the right path to changing the STEM field one empowered female at a time.

Jessica and her dogs, Max & Rolley.

Aside from being a passionate educator, Jessica is also a doggo fanatic. She’s been a foster mom with California Labradors, Retrievers and More, San Diego’s largest mix breed dog rescue, for the last 3 years where she’s fostered over 40 dogs. She also loves CrossFit but her friends always joke that “she only goes to the gym so she can lift more dogs.” Jessica is the proud fur parent of Max and Rolley. When she’s not at the gym, hanging at home with her dogs or teaching kids about STEM, Jessica is traveling the globe. Her latest adventure was hiking the Inca Trail in Peru. She really enjoyed being in the middle of the Andes with no one around except wild llamas.

Play-Well is incredibly proud to have Jessica join the team! She is certainly an inspiration to all of us and we can’t wait to see what cool things she does next.

Creating The Oakland Fruitvale District For The Future Out of LEGO® Bricks

Reem’s California and Play-Well TEKnologies had an idea to bring together the community around food and play.

We asked families from the Oakland Fruitvale District these questions:

  • If you had the chance to design the Fruitvale, how would you design it?
  • What else would you add to the Fruitvale District that you currently think is missing?
  • How would you make the Fruitvale even better than it is now?

We gave them 40,000 LEGO® pieces and this is what they came up with.  This event was part of the Oakland Cinco De Mayo 2017 Event hosted by Oakland City Councilmember of District 5, Noel Gallo.

If you’d like us to build your neighborhood/city out of LEGO, check out our Special Events Page.

Giving Away LEGO on April 1st!

While doing inventory, we realized that our instructor kits have too much LEGO. So, we need to get rid of thousands of LEGO pieces. If you’d like some, just comment below. One last important piece of information: APRIL FOOLS!

LEGO Kit

Our Play-Well JEDI Engineering w/LEGO Program

We recently had so much fun running our new JEDI Engineering w/LEGO program.  Our instructors that are Star Wars nerds are really into teaching these programs, getting kids excited about the world of Star Wars, and answering what role engineers played in creating this world.

We ask our students, “who do you think built the X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Millenium Falcon, Death Star, Imperial Cruiser, Clone Troopers, and even the Jedi Academy?  Engineers.”  Then as engineers, we begin to reconstruct the world and story lines of Star Wars through our LEGO building.

Check out some pictures from a JEDI Engineering camp we recently held in Ventura County, CA.

Our staff member, Jared, with a group of mini Jedi Engineering builders.

Our staff member, Jared, with a group of mini Jedi Engineering builders.

A LEGO battle droid model and a X-Wing prototype welcomed these Jedi Engineers to the camp.

A LEGO battle droid model and a X-Wing prototype welcomed these Jedi Engineers to the camp.

If you’d like more information about our JEDI Engineering programs, click HERE.  We will be offering JEDI Engineering camps in various parts of the country this summer.  If you’d like to know if we are offering these camps in your area, simply click here and search for camps near you: http://www.play-well.org/summer/2013/.

PLAY WELL!

Play-Well Engineering w/LEGO Party & Swoop Bag Giveaway

We are collaborating with Swoop Bags to give away a 
Play-Well Engineering w/LEGO Birthday Party (Value: $300.00) and two Swoop Bags (Value: $96.00).

Details: Enter to win a Play-Well Engineering w/LEGO® Birthday Party (Value $300) PLUS two Swoop bags (Value $96). Expires 8/12/12

Who is Play-Well TEKnologies?
Play-Well TEKnologies provides project-based programs designed to teach the principles and methods of engineering to children, ages 5 – 14, using LEGO®. Play-Well has been growing future engineers since 1997.

What’s a Swoop Bag?
Swoop bags are the ultimate modern TOY STORAGE BAG + PLAYMAT in one.
www.swoopbags.com 

CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE!

Introducing Our Newest Center: Play-Well Ventura!

Play-Well Ventura

Play-Well Ventura, our newest activity learning center, is now up and running! The center is offering many fun classes, summer camps, and mini-sessions to the families and schools of Ventura County and beyond. The  Play-Well Ventura center began as a vision of Ben Pfister, the Ventura/Santa Barbara Area Manager. He wanted to create a space where children could build, explore, and create while also working on their own individual interests and inspirations. As Ben said, “I want to make it a space where everyone can find something they are drawn to.  I imagine a space with sick catapults and crazy machines mixed with beautiful paintings and delicate sculptures out of clay and wire.” His desire to combine and welcome children’s diverse interests and creative directions plays a major role in what makes Play-Well Ventura unique. Here at Play-Well Venture, instructors don’t think that work and fun have to be mutually exclusive. They want to inspire children to partake in a hybrid of the two, “learning in disguise, work that doesnt feel like work.” This vision came to life with the “Thinking Creatively: Mind-Mapping” class currently being run at Play-Well Ventura.

Ben Pfister

This amazing class asks students to use a powerful idea-generating process called “mind-mapping” to explore different angles of a central theme chosen for the group. Students can choose from science, art, history, personal observations and many other tracks as a means to creatively consider and approach the groups theme. Then the class “harvests” their ideas and uses them as inspiration to create a piece of art, assemble an informational piece or narrate a story which explores the student’s unique perspective of the class theme. This is just one of the many amazing and exciting classes being offered at Play-Well Ventura. From a Leonardo Da Vinci summer workshop to Robotics classes to a Comic Strip Story-Telling with LEGO® camp, Play-Well Ventura has something to offer for every child. So, come by and visit our center and prepare to be creative, to think outside of the box, and to explore. You may find something you never thought possible.

Play-Well Ventura in the early stages

Come play with us!