ScratchJr — teaching pre-school children
A computer programming app has been released that is so easy to use that even kids aged five can do it according to its inventors
ScratchJr is the brainchild of researchers in Massachusetts, who are currently testing it out on kindergarten children there. Specifically designed for children as young as five who haven’t yet learned to read, the app allows kids to craft their own interactive stories and games, by stringing coding blocks together in order to make animated characters move, jump, and change size or colour.
“To control the characters in their stories in ScratchJr, children snap together graphical building blocks, much like putting together Lego pieces, and each block tells the character what to do,” explained ScratchJr co-developer, Mitchel Resnick.
ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language also developed by the MIT Media Lab and already used by millions of children aged eight and up around the world. The ScratchJr team redesigned the interface and language to make it appropriate for younger children.
“There’s been a growing interest in helping people learn to code, but we see ScratchJr as the first programming language that was designed specifically for children as young as five years old to really meet their needs and their developmental abilities,” said Resnick.