As I entered the school ‘ICT suite’ to deliver the first session on ScratchJr to get the iPads ready, I stared at the vintage PC’s and felt really pleased about our new learning environment. The children are in Year 1 and Year 2 (6/7 years old) and were very eager to see what we were going to do with the shiny new iPads.
I asked the children to stand and follow my instructions: jump 3 times and stop; move right and stop; lift your right hand, and now your left; and so on. Then, I introduced them to Scratch: the friendly cat that will obey our instructions.
I started moving the scripting blocks so Scratch could move 3 steps and then stop, turn, rotate. Soon, they could see how Scratch was a clever cat that could do what we asked him to do!
Next, it was the childrens’ turn to have a go. They made their own Scratch character move and turn around. Soon they were creating their own characters and performing similar movements. The hour went by in a flash, and no one wanted to go home! In fact, it was a job to get their attention and let them know that their parents were waiting outside and it was time to stop! They told me that it was fun and all went home with smily faces.
I’m so pleased to have started this amazing learning journey with much younger children – especially given that some of them hadn’t had the opportunity to hold an iPad before.
The creators of ScratchJr have done a fantastic job in engaging very young children with the free app.