Robot coding gets off to a fast start in Warwick kindergartens. – Warwick Education Foundation

Robot coding gets off to a fast start in Warwick kindergartens.

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Robot coding gets off to a fast start in Warwick kindergartens.

At age 5, Warwick kids can enter kindergarten. And start a career in programming self-driving cars.

It begins on the classroom floor.  A child puts a little robot with four wheels on a special green tile and off it goes, zipping down the road to the next colored tile.

Even adults can figure it out.

Green tile is where you start, another green keeps you going, yellow slows the car down, red makes it stop, blue is a right turn, pink a left—there’s even a color that spins your car around in a kind of happy dance.

Change the order of the tiles, and you can change the route and performance of the car. Make an obstacle course, construct a maze—the possibilities are almost limitless.

This is the kind of hands-on learning kids love because it feels like play. It’s just part of a $25,000 grant from the Warwick Education Foundation called “Creations in Coding for K-12.”

For kindergarten, the grant includes these Sphero Indi cars and the roadways (colored tiles) and software that goes with them. The objective is to introduce the kids to coding patterns and sequences by making a game out of it.

You’d be amazed at how adept kids can be at this, and how quickly they learn.

Sphero Indi is just one of 5 different types of software and hardware introduced at Warwick schools during the 2022-2023 school year. The entire program for K-12 has been designed by Jonathan Olshan and Shelly Chmil, Warwick’s technology integration coaches. Across all the grades, the various devices promote STEAM skills like problem-solving, collaborating, testing ideas, and reworking them for solutions—skills they’ll need in the real world no matter which career they end up in.

As Shelly Chmil responded when the grant was awarded, “Thank you!!! We are so excited. This will have an enormous positive impact on our students.”