When the founder and the creative brains behind the Reach & Match learning kit, Mandy Lau, was invited to share her design to current and future Portugese teachers at the Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa (School of Education of Lisbon), she jumped at the opportunity. We met Clarisse Nunes, Lecturer of Special Education and Early Intervention, who invited Mandy to present and we were very surprised to see posters for the Reach & Match when we walked into the building.
Attendees at the presentation included students from specialisation course in childcare, teachers of the school community in Lisbon, occupational therapists and other professionals.
The main topics discussed during Mandy’s sharing were:
- the background research that went into the design,
- the international design awards Reach & Match has won,
- Reach & Match’s learning outcomes and applications at early learning centres
“Reach & Match is an innovative educational kit, through exercises and games, to empower children with or without special needs in mainstream settings.”
We had Q & A at the end of the presentation, where students were really encouraged to ask questions related to product design, functions and users, etc.
One of the student asked Mandy, “How many ideas did you go through during your design stage and how did you select the best one to go forward?”. It was revealed that Mandy actually brainstormed around 35-50 concepts, which was cut down to the best three concepts, in which she created models to test with clients and professionals. During this stage, Mandy received direct feedback from the end-users and hence selected the best idea. Best it might not mean most challenging or fun, but it is the best for the clients that she designed for.
The designed needed to be very flexible to be able to create complex games and possibilities of play for children with varying needs. Therefore, she chose the Reach & Match as the final concept to develop further.
It was truly a great experience to share Reach & Match to educators in other country as well as receiving their encouragement and great feedback.