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The Playwell Journey: Part Three

This is the third part of a series in which we follow the journey that brought Playwell Bricks’ own Jason Pyett from a stay-at-home-Dad to bespoke brick model designer to the CEO of an international design company. In Part One, we traveled to Disney with the Pyett family and discovered the set that rekindled his love for bricks. In Part Two, we looked on as Pyett started hosting workshops for kids in his rural Nova Scotia town.

While Pyett was running the workshops, a robotics engineer friend approached him about coaching a local First LEGO® League. This was the first local League in the area and initially there were thirty to forty kids interested.

“By the end of the year that whittled down,” Pyett remembers. “We had the smallest team when we went to the LEGO® competition, but they were great kids. They won the Core Value award, which was the second biggest award, celebrating discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork, and fun.”

For all that, Pyett had regrets. He knows some of the kids left because he was too much of a disciplinarian. “It has to be done this way, and just done this way. And that just killed all the fun and creativity.” But he’d gotten into this because he wanted to inspire kids’ creativity! Where had he gone wrong?

The answer lay in a simple conversation with his kids’ music teacher, a woman he describes as “a bright shining star who all the kids loved. This lady you couldn’t help but like. She walks in the room and everyone is excited to see her, just that kind of positive energy all the time.”

Pyett doesn’t remember the exact phrasing, but he says they were talking and she commented something like “as long as the kids are having fun, that’s all that matters.” It was such a simple phrase, but it made something click in Pyett’s mind.

“Here I was, forty years old, and I had somehow missed the understanding that it’s got to be fun. It took me so long to get there! And I was doing bricks, the funnest thing in the world!” He shakes his head at himself.

Once he understood what the issue was, he was able to reign in his disciplinarian tendencies and allow the kids to have their fun. The kids flourished. The First LEGO® League team took home awards for the next few years, and in their third, they went to the Provincial level. They were set to go to the Provincials the following year as well, but that’s when the COVID-19 hit and everything shut down.

 Wondering how Pyett goes from coaching the First LEGO® League and through a pandemic to become the CEO of a well-respected international design company? Keep an eye on this space for Part Four of the Playwell Journey.

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