Education may not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Chuck E. Cheese (unless you count the life lesson that pee spreads like wildfire in a ballpit), but the company recently revealed that they plan to begin testing a game-based learning program for kids ages three to twelve. According to a press release earlier today, the programs will be split between a playground for kindergartners (ages 3 to 5) and an after school program for kids up to twelve.
The educational side of the program will be handled by Brainrush Academy, a venture co-founded by Chuck E. Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell. Through a mix of adaptive learning software and strategic breaks to load up on greasy pizza and rounds of skeeball, the program hopes to provide education on “academics, entrepreneurship, arts and technology,” as well a strong presence and input from teachers and parents. When the program goes live, lessons will take place in the main Chuck E. Cheese showrooms and available to willing participants in daily, weekly, or monthly installments.
Hopefully the program goes through some fairly extensive testing because, as any parent who has taken their children to a Chuck E. Cheese knows, they can be hit or miss quality wise. You either live near the nice and clean one that serves palatable if not great pizza, or you could be sending your kids to an after school program at a location that would make Freddy Fazbear blush. One thing you can’t doubt when it comes to the pizza chain is that they take kid safety very seriously – especially in terms of making sure the right kid leaves with the right parent.
Knowing a specialized company is coming in to handle the education may ease some concerns, but the real turning point will come when pricing is announced to see if this effort can compete with an actual after school program or kindergarten-aged playground. It will also be interesting to see if Chuck E. Cheese keeps it education and family fun focused, or if it will turn into an Orwellian advertising campaign meant to indoctrinate your kids into craving pizza while staring at a giant animatronic chicken.
Brainrush Academy begins testing soon in limited locations in Glendale, Thousand Oaks, and West Hills locations in the Los Angeles area. During this time parents will have the ability to bring their kids to try out the activities for free, until the program launches November 10th.