The HPCA awards were established in 2000.
Each year, more than 200 companies are invited to submit games which are then put through a rigorous process.... For the last four years more than 400 entries have been received annually.
The criteria are as follows:
- Submitted games must have an educational value
- Each game must be suitable for children and families with a minimum age playing range of three years old
- Games must intrinsically have the ability to improve one or more of the following skills: Thinking skills, visual perception, spatial awareness, sequencing, hand/eye co-ordination and/or fine motor control, numeracy and literacy skills
The judging is done in three stages... At the initial stage, a team of educators (usually seven) test all of the games... The criteria on which they score on must include overall educational value, quality of manufacture, durability, ease of play and value for money.
The initial pool of games is then whittled down to around of 150 (if there are not 150 that score highly enough then only the number appropriate are carried through).
In the second round, the 150 games are judged by a secondary parent/educator panel, who have not been involved in the first round, although they can refer to the panel from the first round.
At this stage, the primary contenders are identified, normally a maximum of 25 games.
In the third round, the awards are actually allocated and the manufacturers are notified.
There are several categories...
Winner, Junior section
Runner Up, Junior section,
Winner, Numeracy recource
Winner, Literacy resource
Winner, Hands On resource
Sometimes, it has been deemed necessary to make more than one award in each category, simply because more than one game is worthy of the award.
On other occasions, one or more awards have not been allocated because nothing in the category reaches a high enough standard!
This is serious process which takes three months from the beginning of May until the end of July and the awards are announced each year in September.