“Computer Science Unplugged” project results — CS Unplugged
Educational project of the Hi-Tech Park for preschool institutions

“Computer Science Unplugged” project results

Summary of the pilot project for 2019/2020

Full name of the project

Educational Project “Computer Science Unplugged” for Preschool Institutions.

Project goals

Development of the algorithmic and logical thinking among older preschool-age children as being a propedeutic base for learning computer science; cognitive preparation of children for the first stage of general secondary education.

Innovative aspect of the project

There are no educational programs on computer science for preschool institutions in the Republic of Belarus that do not involve computers.

Salient features of the project

- age of participants – senior preschool group (ages 5-6);

- children are being taught without using computer.

Educational establishments that took part in the pilot project in 2019/2020 academic year

State Educational Institution “Ditva Preschool Child Development Center”;

State Educational Institution “Lida Preprimary school No. 40”;

State Educational Institution “Minsk Preprimary school No. 372”;

State Educational Institution “Orsha Preprimary school No. 44”;

State Educational Institution “Orsha Preprimary school No. 46”;

State Educational Institution “Orsha Preprimary school No. 1”.

Project’s tasks

1. To develop applied teaching materials and to test new methods of arranging educational process for older preschool children on studying the basics of computer science without using a computer at the preschool educational institution;

2. To develop a set of educational visual materials for older preschool-age children to being used during the "Computer Science Unplugged" course;

3. To create an online course "Introduction to Computer Science" for preschool teachers;

4. To work out mechanisms of cooperation and experience exchange between pre-school teachers and primary and secondary school teachers on early computer science education for children.

Computer science teachers about the pilot project

Nina Anatolyevna Perednya, a computer science teacher at State Educational Institution “Ozeretsk kindergarten and secondary school” in Hlybokaye district, Vitebsk region:

“Parents ask a reasonable question whether it is necessary to teach children computer science in kindergarten. Yes, it is necessary. After all computer science is not only about computer literacy and knowledge of user programs. Computer science as a course of study is first and foremost meant to shape logical and algorithmic thinking, the foundations of which are important to lay down in the child as early as possible.

Understandable and accessible to children’s perception classes are being a part of the “Computer Science Unplugged” program. They are designed to develop algorithmic thinking and are to become a platform for further computer literacy education at school. School course of computer science includes a section of the curriculum that is called “Algorithm development and computer programming”. It is no secret that it is difficult for pupils to understand the section. To my mind, it will be much easier to cope with computer science curriculum for those children who will be taught algorithm development in a playful way in kindergarten.

In addition, various logic tasks and exercises that are displayed in the form of illustrations and plans will facilitate the development of imagination and creativity of a child”.

Khudik Tatyana Vladimirovna, a computer science and math teacher at State Educational Institution “Grodno Secondary School No. 34”:

“ The main goal for the preliminary study of computer science is to develop a manner of thinking. And this is not about preparing future software developers or training professional skills. Preschoolers should be ready for the subsequent systematic study of computer science. An especially important skill that children must learn is the ability to plan a sequence of actions to achieve a goal, the ability to solve problems, the answer to which is a statement or a description of the sequence of actions. This is the basis for the development of the algorithmic manner of thinking.

Studying the “Computer Science Unplugged” course (tasks from elements of logic, tasks for correspondence elements of sets, tasks for establishing a sequence of events and actions, tasks for creating mazes, etc.) will prepare a child for solving problems in the field of computer science at the next stages of education. It will also form the required amount of basic skills in the same field”.