Tennis legend Andre Agassi spent his 21-year career schooling opponents on the court.
In that span, he and his unstoppable backhand shottook home 60 titles eight of them Grand Slams. It’s no wonderhe’s considered one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
In 1994, he created the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.
Since its beginning, the group which began as the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation has raised more than $180 million to put towardeducational endeavors, openingthe Las Vegas-based charter school Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in 2001.
In an interview with People magazine, Agassi explains that his passion for education came from his own lack of one. When he was 13, he was pulled from regular school and sent to a tennis academy. While he found massive success on the court, he couldn’t help but wonder what his life would have been like had he not.
“I didn’t have a choice in my life,”he toldPeople.”I just focused on tennis. And the thought of what would have happened had I not succeeded was kind of overwhelming.”
Understanding the basics of language at an early age is key in preparing students for long-term success.
Educators around the world agree: Early years in a child’s development are crucial to eventual mastering of language skills. At a young age, children’s brains are more sponge-likethan ever, making it so important to make the most of the brain’s uniqueability to develop new skills during this time.
What we’re seeingis that astartling number of kids across the countrycan’t read at grade level.And that’s why the Agassi Foundation’s latest endeavor has them looking to a unique solution to this all-too-common problem by making the most of early brain development.
Agassi teamed up with Square Panda, a startup that makes innovative, multi-sensory tablet workstations for students.
Square Pandawas founded by Las Vegas entrepreneurTom Boeckle, who points to his own childhood dyslexia as his passion fuel, inspiringhis goal ofcreatingsomething to save other children from the same embarrassment and frustration he experienced as a child.
The company’s core product is the PandaPlayset, and Agassi says hebelieves itwillrevolutionize how kids learn to read, telling USAToday, “This is a perfect way to lead a kid into those early years of development that gives them a chance at a much better education.”
The Playset is what’s called an “adaptive system,” meaning that it tailors itself to the child.
It grows with the child, helping them learn how to differentiate letters andlearn the mechanics of creating words through a multi-sensory experience. It’s really cool.
Asvarious studieshave illustrated the benefits of multi-sensory learningespecially during early braindevelopmentandespecially when it comes to language skillsit seems like there’s quite a bit of science to back thePlayset’s core premise.
Will this partnership be the education-redefining innovation Agassi hopes? We’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, it’s great to see that there are people seeking out new ways to teach the pillars of education.