Vinita Melwani, Centre Head, Kangaroo Kids International Preschool, Bandra, Mumbai

Vinita Melwani has been in the Education industry for nearly 2 decades. She started her career as a teacher with Indian School in Kuwait. Although she was a Home Science student with major in Textiles, her passion towards children led her to the teaching profession. She is also pursuing her B.Ed. After teaching in Kuwait for 5 years she was back in India and joined Kangaroo Kids International Preschool as a teacher and then later joined the Curriculum Design Team. For over 3 years she was heading OES International School in Andheri, Mumbai

Computer Programming back in the days was presumed to be among some of the most complicated skills, because of this assumption, people believed that only students who did well in the field of science could take a course to further specialise in it. It was meant for the exclusive few.

With technology taking over the world and both adults and children using it for every little thing, in the near future, coding will be an area of significance for employment opportunities. In this rapidly changing environment, schools are challenged to prepare students for this reality and thereby coding and computer programming has been introduced to school curriculums. It has been noticed that learning to code at a young age encourages children to think deeply and not just rote learn the concept. This, in turn, helps them to communicate, negotiate and problem-solve over a meaningful, tangible experience.

Coding as a skill is becoming essential in general. Even for children who would not like to pursue it as a career, knowing the basics is the need of the hour. We at Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd have gone a step further and have introduced coding in preschool through Cubetto – a robot that teaches kids coding and computer programming through hands-on play.

This program helps children develop their ability to mentally compare and connect movements in reality with maps and symbols. It also helps them to mentally envision, hold in mind and conceptualize actions and relationships between paper maps, gridded maps, and symbols. Thus, the intervention indicates potential in teaching mathematics through programming in preschool.

So, you may wonder how coding helps in boosting learning and strengthening life skills like critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving?

Programming a robot also requires counting and an understanding of the symbols on the robot. In particular one-to-one correspondence, together with the number sequence are explored when coordinating the number of presses on the commands with the number of grids the robot is to move on the grid map. Not being able to coordinate verbal number words with actions such as pointing at objects where one and only one number word is assigned to each object is common among young children. In a long-term perspective, children can develop their algorithmic problem-solving skills by programming. Furthermore, programming is considered to promote creativity and logical thinking.

We have always worked towards integrating subjects to making learning fun and long-lasting and we continue to do so by introducing new things every year. Our focus is to build skills of the future during the child’s foundation years – critical thinking, creativity, decision-making, etc., and we have made conscious efforts to integrate these into our preschool curriculum through innovative means. The introduction of coding in our preschool curriculum is part of this goal and is an extension of our efforts to emphasize digital competence and computational thinking with the aim to foster better technology producers and to promote lifelong learning.

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