Read the latest issue of Progressive Preschool now

The new edition includes exclusive interviews with Toymaster and Epoch Making Toys, as well as looks at the games and puzzles, creative play, travel and holiday and nappy product categories.

Like many, the team at Progressive Preschool has been watching the development and rise of AI with interest. The technology has been in the news recently due to the resignation of the man widely seen as the ‘godfather’ of artificial intelligence – Geoffrey Hinton resigned from Google earlier this month and warned about the dangers of developments in the field.

While there are clearly concerns about where AI could lead us – not least the job losses which could be seen in various professions including journalism – you can’t also help but marvel at such advancements. But what impact could it have on the preschool industry?

Gary Pope, co-founder and ceo at Kids Industries, has written a passionate piece in this issue (page 15) on AI and its role in storytelling. He explains that stories have been told in new and wondrous mediums over the years – from radio and TV through to the smart speaker – but until now, stories have always been written by a person… an ‘individual compelled to commit thought to paper through creativity and a need to engage an audience of young people for their betterment’ in his words.

And it’s this passion and enthusiasm that cannot be replicated by AI – as clever as it is, AI cannot quite convey the intangible magic of stories and their sheer human element. As Gary puts it, storytelling is not a science; it is an art that lives in the fibres of our evolution.

Elsewhere in this issue, we’re gearing up for a return to Harrogate and the Toymaster May Show (pages 23-31), as well as exploring the latest developments in major product categories such as games and puzzles (37-39), creative play and role play (43-47), nappies (51-53) and travel and holiday (55-59).

As diverse as they are, the common theme in each category is one of innovation. From sustainability advancements through to a commitment and investment in new launches and support for retailers, there is no holding back or hesitation from the preschool industry, despite the challenges in the wider market currently.

As Epoch Making Toys’ Matt Shaw explained in our exclusive interview (pages 32-33), consumers look out for ‘newness’ annually, especially on collectable brands such as Sylvanian Families and, quite simply, new innovation sells.

We’re looking forward to checking out some of that new innovation in the toy category at Toymaster from 16-18 May, as well as catching up with as many of our readers as possible.

The team would also like to point out that this was written by our own fair hands, as we’re not sure that AI could quite replicate us either, just yet…

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