The first preschool in Singapore to participate in the global Hour of Code (HOC) in 2017, Skool4Kidz was also at it this year as it observes the global Computer Science Education Week from 3 to 9 December 2018.
Children in 14 Skool4Kidz child care centres participated in activities using child-friendly robots to carry out coding and solve problems for three days from 5th to 7th December 2018.
HOC is a global movement that reaches out to millions of students around the world through the introduction of computer science and programming. In Singapore, it is supported by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Skool4Kidz promotes IMDA’s award-winning PlayMaker Programme, which introduces young children to technology with the goal of providing an enriching learning experience and developing a can-do spirit in innovation among the children in their care.
Harnessing the STEAM approach – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics – the preschool partnered with KLC International Institute, a preschool teacher training organisation, to bring the concept of both plugged and unplugged curriculum into the classroom.
The curriculum equips close to 300 Kindergarten 1 students from 14 centres for a digitised future. Through play and exploration, students utilise technology and coding activities to solve problems.
Meet Our Child-Friendly Bots
For one hour on a daily basis during HOC, the children of Skool4Kidz are taught the basics of planning, coding and sequencing through programmable child-friendly robots with stories that develop critical thinking skills.
Some of the toys include the Code-a-pillar, an easy-to-connect robot caterpillar with body segments that can be put together in endless combinations to set the robot on its path. The segments light up when they are joined, enabling students to understand how their actions contribute to the robot’s movements.
The Kibo is a wooden-blocked robot designed for young children to build from scratch, and programmed to move, detect sounds and emit coloured light. Through creating and having fun with the robot, children will be able to discover coding, create sequences and learn design processes.
Empowering students with skills in sequencing, estimation and problem solving is the Bee-Bot – a colourful and easy-to-operate robot. Students get to decorate the robot, and programme it to move along a calculated distance on grid maps.
Ms Aishah, teacher of Skool4Kidz at Woodlands Crescent Meadow observes, “Students get very excited whenever we bring out the toys. They constantly ask when the next lesson will be. As teachers, we are also excited to experience the students’ growth first hand. We noted that they develop positive traits such as creativity and even social skills like negotiation skills and knowing how to share and take turns.”