Preschoolers are learning robotics and programming through use of a tablet sized robot that they can direct to go in different directions on a make believe trip from a house to the beach, and then to a restaurant for lunch.
At All About Kids Preschool, kids are working with the robot, named KIBO. They listened attentively to teacher Bronwyn McLemore as she held up the L-shaped map with pictures of where they had to direct KIBO to go. She started working with the preschoolers twice a week last spring, and says they are naturals when it comes to using the robot.
The pre-K robotics and programming pilot program which is in use at three schools in Jacksonville was developed by a team or researchers at Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida. The curriculum and KIBO are the basis for McLemore and other teachers to create and develop an engineering program for preschoolers. They have proven that four year olds can be taught the basics of STEM subjects, including science and engineering.
KIBO is manufactured by KinderLab Robotics, and was designed at Tufts University to teach young children the basic steps of computer programming. At the present time, the curriculum is only available for kindergarten and first grade. The UNF team is working with Tufts to develop a KIBO curriculum for preschool.