Each school day, as teachers face the task of creating an arena that will inspire young minds, we begin by making choices about which things might work best to open the eyes, ears, and thinking of the students in our care. In many ways the work of early childhood educators is to promote awareness…awareness of the world around us, and of the world of ideas in our midst.
Parents begin this process by helping their infants and toddlers to become aware of shapes, colors, stripes, and polkadots. Teachers build upon this effort by presenting tasks that awaken their students’ thinking about patterns in mathematics, literacy, science, and social relationships at school. It all begins with awareness.
As a retired classroom teacher, now working on iPad game design, it seems apparent that the world of the iPad education offers young learners a chance to explore, engage, flounder, and fly in areas of learning that are right at their fingertips.
When designing apps, we want to make children aware of those key educational moments. For example, when they play our app Snowflake Station, they experience the beauty of symmetry and are compelled to put down the iPad, pick up paper and scissors and cut their own paper snowflakes. Since more life and learning takes place offscreen, we want to make sure the lessons we present are ones that awaken the eye and inspire new levels of learning in their real-world experiences.
With our release of Chalk Walk (out April 18th) we aim to help children in this digital age improve their pincer grip and fine-motor functioning needed within pencil and paper tasks. We know that just raising a child’s awareness of his/her own hand positioning can be a big start in sparking an interest this important area of classroom life. We hope the game inspires children to become aware of their own “handy work” by creating a fun world for them to discover and explore. It presents a fanciful journey, specifically designed to awaken a child’s eyes to the diversity of textures in the real world around them. Such small lessons can be invaluable in the hands of bright young minds.