During the foundational years of early childhood, children need a playful and tangible way to engage with the technology and engineering concepts of their STEM development. Robotics and computer programming initiatives are rapidly growing in popularity among early childhood researchers and educators as an appropriate way to meet this demand.
Here are five reasons why coding and robotics can greatly benefit learning and development for children ages four to seven.
Improved Cognitive, Fine Motor, and Social Development: Recent research has shown that when robotics is introduced in pre-K to second-grade classrooms, children’s early development is stimulated in ways that can’t be replicated through other techniques. Working with robots gets kids moving and off screens, even as they engage with engineering and programming. Movement and play are especially critical for learning in early childhood.
New Opportunities for Creative and Critical Thinking: When kids experiment and engage with robotics, they transform from children into engineers and storytellers. By playing with motors and sensors or creating personally meaningful projects that react to their environment, these children are unlocking their imaginations and their problem-solving potential. Through simple commands, young students can see their story come to life through their programming. It’s especially powerful for developing their understanding of if/then principles as well as the complete engineering design process.
Safe Introduction to Technology: We live in an advanced, digital world, one that can sometimes feel daunting to adults concerned about their young children’s interaction with technology. By presenting the capabilities of coding and programming through approachable and engaging robotics without a PC, tablet, or smartphone, such as the KIBO robot kit, educators can feel secure that they’re building a positive connection between their students and the technology of their modern world.
Hands-On Lessons with Real-World Applications: Young children interact with robot-like electronics every day, but may not understand the engineering behind why and how they work. From automatic doors to public hand dryers, the same technology that kids regularly encounter can be explored through hands-on engagement with robots and sensor technology. By teaching foundation programming concepts, along with robotics, we can introduce our children to important ideas that will inform their understanding of many of the everyday objects they interact with.
Fun and Inspired Learning: Kids are naturally very curious. They’re eager to interact with and understand the world around them. Finding the joy and wonder in their learning is their default inclination, so the most successful educators help their students have fun with their learning. Through natural play and a trial-and-error approach to programming, children are more likely to learn and grow, and do so in ways that teachers aren’t able to anticipate. Oftentimes, the most joy that a child experiences with their learning is when they figure out something for themselves.
An early introduction to robotics encourages our children’s essential growth and expression, engaging their cognitive, critical, and creative potential. When used in this way, robotics can help these future creators, designers, and engineers to better understand and explore the world around them.
About our sponsor
KinderLab Robotics is the creator of KIBO, a robot kit based on 15 years of child development research, that lets 4- to 7-year-olds build, program, decorate, and run their own robot. Created by Prof. Marina Bers at Tufts University specifically for teachers, KIBO is used in 48 countries with proven efficacy in helping kids learn STEM – and get excited about it!
KinderLab offers a complete suite of teaching materials that help integrate STEM elements into a wide range of curricula, including art, cultural studies, and reading literacy. KIBO requires no screens, keyboards, computers, tablets, smartphones or IT support. Learn more today.
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