Local school participates in nationwide toy testing program

HOOVER – Children at The Goddard School in Hoover were put to work the week of Sept. 25—as toy testers.

The local franchise, which has been open about 12 years and is the only one in Alabama, was selected as one of about 50 locations across the country to participate in the 10th annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test for the first time.

There are about 430 franchises in the United States.

The toy test engages children from infants to 6 years old to play with interactive toys while teachers observe and document how the toy rates among the judging criteria, Hoover location franchisee Kevin Hamby said.

About 30 toys are introduced, with a few rotated each day of the week for five days.

The older children vote on their favorite toys. In the classrooms of the younger children, who are not yet able to verbalize, teachers base rankings on how the children interact with the toys.

The observation guides submitted by the teachers rates the toys on interactivity, skill development, creative inspiration and more.

The data is submitted to The Goddard School’s corporate office, which determines a top 10 and then opens up the competition for votes on the organization’s Facebook page.

Final results are distributed to parents of children who attend The Goddard School locations.

“It gives all The Goddard School locations ideas of what is popular with children,” Hamby said. “We also distribute the information to parents to help with their holiday purchases.”

The Goddard School will purchase 100 of the toys included in the test and donate them to Toys for Tots, Hamby said.

“The Goddard School is a strong supporter of learning through play,” Hamby said.

The Goddard School’s corporate office sends invitations to manufacturers, and the participants are selected by a panel.

Participating toy manufacturers include VTech, TOMY, KNEX, The Young Scientists Club, Fat Brain Toys and more.

The toys were shipped to the schools about two weeks before the testing began.

“That was one of the difficult things was hiding the new toys from the children,” Hamby said. “They’re very observant. They know when there’s something new here.”

The Goddard School is AdvancedED accredited, and the Hoover location is SACS accredited.

For more information, visit GoddardSchool.com.