Kindergarten Robotics Initiative

Catholic Schools Office - Archdiocese of Boston

Learning about coding and technology through play!

We are pleased to announce the Kindergarten Robotics initiative, a formal partnership between Dr. Marina Umaschi Bers, Professor and Director of the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University and the Catholic Schools Office at the Archdiocese of Boston. Ten elementary schools will be granted the unique opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Umaschi Bers and to integrate a robotics curriculum into their Kindergarten classrooms. Together, teachers will learn how to thoughtfully integrate STREAM concepts into the classroom and to build robots with KIBO.

Making Learning Tangible & Fun with KIBO

With KIBO, children build their own robot, program it, and decorate it -- all without a tablet, PC, or smart device. It harnesses the power of play and provides a forum for learning about coding and technology.
KinderLab Robotics: KIBO - Making thinking tangible by programming robots in early childhood

Dr. Umaschi Bers noted, "tinkering, creating, and playing are essential activities for young children to engage in, particularly as they are developing their cognitive, social, emotional, motor, and communication skills. The increasing growth of educational robotics opens up the opportunity to bring new technologies into the early childhood classroom."

She further shares, "four and five year olds love to make things, and they love to make things that move and respond to their commands. Robotics brings together the physical and the computational world. Robotics is a natural fit for young children’s interests and curiosities. Research shows that young children will learn programming and engineering at a very early age if they are given tools that are developmentally appropriate (Bers, M (2008) Blocks to Robots: Learning with Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom. Teachers College Press, NY, NY). Furthermore, robotics can be integrated with traditional materials to engage in open-ended exploration to make personally meaningful projects while developing STREAM concepts and skills."

Benefits for Catholic Schools

Beginning this summer, selected teachers will gather for a two-day professional development institute with Dr. Umaschi Bers. The hands-on, interactive institute will be held on August 10-11, 2016. During this time teachers will be exposed to the KIBO, provided with access to a wealth of STREAM resources, and learn how to integrate coding into the Kindergarten classroom. Each participating classroom will receive a set of KIBO kits; all of the kits will remain in the school after the end of the collaborative partnership. During the academic year, Dr. Umaschi Bers will work directly with schools and train volunteers to support the learning cycle. Teachers will then be invited to participate in the next cycle of collaboration in the summer of 2017-18.

Join us! Apply Online

Space is limited and only ten schools will be selected to participate. The cost of participation is $4500 for the first Kindergarten classroom of 25 or fewer students and $3000 for each additional Kindergarten classroom. These fees will cover the costs associated with professional development as well as the KIBO kits.

To be considered for this unique opportunity, you are asked to complete a short online application and to reflect on how participation in this STREAM initiative can impact your enrollment, current initiatives, and goals for the future. You can complete the online application here:

All applications must be received by 5:00 PM on May 27, 2016. If you have any questions about this initiative, please contact Dr. Amy Ryan or Kathy Mears.

Image Source: Images are courtesy of KinderLab Robotics (2016).