After many years working in digital area, Amélia Matar founded Colori
to teach code and logic to young children, without any screen, following Montessori pedagogy. The company is based in Paris, and you can follow it on Facebook
. Here Amélia tells us more about she runs her classes using Cubetto and what other educators can learn from her approach. Educators can find lots more support for teaching computational thinking with Cubetto on our Education page
What is your teaching approach?
Colori operates in various structures. These can be small groups of children participating in workshops outside school hours, whole classes taking part in activities during school hours, or groups of children during weekends, outside of school. Classes can range from around ten children when the activities take place during the lunch break, to 27 children when we work during school hours.
How do the children react to Cubetto?
Children adore Cubetto! The first thing they really love the robot’s facial expression. I’ve heard many exclaim, ‘It’s so cute!’ Sometimes I even have children who want to cuddle or stroke it. It’s incredibly heart-warming. This simple and attractive aesthetic appeals to children. They are not at all afraid of the robot, and they immediately want to touch it and play with it. This appeal fits with the criteria of classic Montessori materials. For Cubetto, this is an aspect which is very successful.
Then, the children are amazed when they realise that Cubetto reacts to their instructions. I see their faces light up with big smiles when they grasp that the robot is connected to the interface board. And so begins a thrilling adventure for them. They are always very enthusiastic.
Some children feel they want to give small instructions. Others plunge themselves into bigger challenges, such as taking an ‘around the world tour,’ in the world of Cubetto of course which is printed on the cloth map laid out on the floor. I also see children who are interested in its functioning, who will test the tool and try to understand why the blocks allow Cubetto to react. Everyone has a fantastic time.
What skills do they learn?
Already, they have gently become acquainted with the world of robotics, which in itself is a very important learning experience. Then, they learn to orient themselves in space: right, left, straight ahead, etc. These notions will be useful to them in other contexts.
They are also introduced to algorithms: to devise a set of instructions which can trigger the action of a machine. By manipulating them, they understand the computing concepts of loop, random and negation.
They really delve into the heart of information technology. Even though, for them, it remains great fun. They also reinforce their capacity for abstraction and anticipation: what will Cubetto do based on my instructions? It is a tremendous mental effort for such young children, and there are very few activities which allow them to acquire such skills.
More generally, they enrich their vocabulary: they discover words such as algorithms, instructions, programme, robot, etc.
The children are amazed when they realise that Cubetto reacts to their instructions. Their faces light up with big smiles when they grasp the concept
What do teachers and parents think of Cubetto?
Adults love Cubetto. Teachers quickly understand its pedagogical value, and parents are thrilled that their children are being initiated into – at such a young age, and without a screen– subjects which have become so crucial. Everyone loves Cubetto, whether they are teachers, parents or IT professionals!
Cubetto is such a rich tool. There are many activities which can be carried out using Cubetto. The child’s interest can be sustained for long periods. I myself never hesitate to propose new activities using Cubetto. For example, I devised a session dedicated to discovering how Cubetto works. We open the robot with the children and they discover its different components. I have conceived nomenclature cards (typical of the Montessori approach) to accompany this activity.
Finally, Primo Toys listens attentively to educators and their feedback, which is extremely valuable.