Two months into the year, 2017 is holding its own against 2016. Our latest adventure? Launching a brand new Primo Toys office in Tokyo with some incredible friends and partners. An enterprise that will bring early years coding to curious young minds across Japan.
As we look to foreign lands for new friends and partners, our mission has never been clearer. We are here to build the best educational toy company in the world, one great toy at a time, starting with Cubetto, a toy that’s helping girls and boys aged three and up discover programming principles without screens. The message is resonating far and wide, with nods of recognition from the likes of Forbes and Fast Company, collaborations with leading educators, and fruitful design partnerships.
We set off on this ambitious mission four years ago. We’ve never changed our mind. Starting this month, helping to spread the message is a capable and motivated team of Japanese marketers, designers, parents and educators whose values reflect ours in each and every way.
Join them on a new dedicated website at www.primotoys.jp, and stay up to date by following our growing community on our Japanese Facebook page. Should you find yourself in Tokyo, be sure to stop by an Isetan department store, where Cubetto is being stocked.
This past Monday, leading programming educator Nanako Ishido joined our Founder and CEO Filippo Yacob for an illuminating discussion on the state of coding in early years in Japan. Below, the highlights of our conversation, and look out for the Japanese version on Ms Ishido’s educational website.
Ishido Nanako: ‘How does Cubetto compare with conventional programming toys or tools?
‘What kind of experiences do you want to provide through Cubetto?’
‘Cubetto can be used by children as young as three years old. Some Japanese people may think it’s not necessary to learn programming at such an early age. What’s your response to this opinion?’
‘You raised a record-breaking $1.6 million in 96 countries through crowdfunding. To what do you attribute this success?’
In the UK, compulsory programming education is already in place. What is the reaction on a broad societal level? In Japan, this is a topic still under discussion, and something we must afford increasing attention.’
‘In the UK, the government made coding for early years compulsory in 2013. The US has taken similar steps, as has France, and next year South Korea will follow suit. Generally speaking this scares the majority of people. We are asked to teach children something so important, but something that only 1% of 1% of people know how to do. How can we teach the new generations something we don’t know or understand? We wanted to tackle the issue at its base by providing a tool that was so simple, and so direct. Something teachers and parents could use and learn with alongside their children in classrooms and homes. I believe the global goal is to raise a generation of children who understand the creative power computers have. Cubetto takes care of the foundations, but we’re already starting to see examples of children becoming interested in the subject earlier on. A generation of problem-solvers and creative thinkers is what we need to bring the world together and rise to the challenges we face as humankind. If we make the subject easy for adults, our children will have a better chance at becoming interested.’