Irene and Joe Chomicki have offered STEM-related classes and camps for the past two years in Ellis County with Bricks 4 Kidz. The duo is now extending the education to businesses with Bricks 4 Biz.
With the newest addition of the chain pertaining to adults, the ideals of the program alter some but not by much. Adults focus on communication, trust, team building and leadership while manipulating LEGOS in their hands.
This hands-on seminar derives creative thinking and allows the team to see which coworker fits into each role best. Through a series of exercises, an employee learns about their coworkers and themselves as well.
Bricks 4 Biz vouches its seminar can boost team morale. According to Forbes, “Studies show the happiest employees are 180 percent more energized than their less-content colleagues.”
Faculty at Advantage Academy recently underwent the team building curriculum and found the exercises to be outside of the box and useful. Advantage Academy Principal Deb Garton said, "The program allowed time for the staff to engage in meaningful conversation about teamwork, individual strengths, and also creative ways to incorporate problem-solving into their classrooms."
"This program is not your ordinary team building program," Garton elaborated. "It allows teams to be introspective, solve problems collaboratively, generate thoughtful discussion and communication, while at the same time bringing a unique element of fun working with LEGOS. Many of the staff told me they enjoyed the program and had a great time building with their team."
But for Irene and Joe, their sole desire is still working with children and helping them fulfill their passions early in life. They have been operating Bricks 4 Kidz for the past two years doing birthday parties, after school programs, and summer camps.
“That’s where my heart is; for kids to learn at a young age to find their passion,” Irene expressed. “And STEM, we love STEM, and the world is STEM. If you can find that passion at a young age, then, you’ll be that much farther ahead and will be stronger in your profession.”
With their program, they have different levels and different ages of children in each level. The program and curriculum Irene and Joe teach helps kids’ fine-motor skills and involves critical thinking. After accomplishing the task, the children build self-esteem and confidence as they watch their motorized machines wheel across the room.
Not only is Joe teaching the kids vernacular about gears and axels, but applies the learning to real-life experiences. He even explains different equations and appropriate conversions.
“He inspires them. He challenges them, and he helps them think outside of the box because he thinks outside of the box,” Irene said.
When the kids are working, they put projects together in pairs, alternating being the finder and the builder.
“The kids have a box of LEGOS —a project kit. So one of the kids will be the finder so they’ll look at the instructions on the tablet and the other student is the builder and will proceed to build, and then that builder becomes the finder. That way, they both get the experience of finding the part and building it,” Joe explained.
Joe will ask the kids “What quality do you bring in this team?” Instead of the kids verbalizing their answer, they have to build something to represent that quality and describe it.
Irene smiled as she shared how the kids have grown on Joe and gave him the nickname Mr. STEM.
Irene and Joe’s business was awarded Newcomer of the Year in 2017 from Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce.
For more information on their business, log on to www.bricks4kidz.com/elliscounty or call at 469-383-2538.