By Joslyn Adcock, Senior Marketing Manager at LEGO Education
In a recent report, The World Economic Forum (WEF) suggested that two-thirds of children will enter jobs that have not currently been created. This produces an ever-increasing pressure to adequately prepare children for the future, despite not knowing what this may look like.
When we think about the skills children need to develop now, it’s often the foundational knowledge to adequately prepare them for the next stage of their lives, alongside the soft skills such as teamwork and problem-solving. But how can we ensure that both sides of the coin are developed?
Elements of play, and the arts, bring creativity to the forefront of every lesson in a fun and simple way, which also allows early years practitioners to explore elements of programming and coding to ensure children develop the essential digital skills for the future, too.
From learners to makers
We know that incorporating the arts and play provides the natural, imaginative, and motivating contexts for children to learn about themselves, each other, and of course the world around them. It allows for children to explore a topic without even realising they are gaining essential skills for the future, providing them with the freedom to explore and understand the topic at their own speed.
When it comes to coding and programming, engagement is key but it’s also important to ensure that children aren’t nervous about the task that’s set for them. Using the arts is a way to distract the children from viewing the task nervously by using play. One of the best elements of using play is the fact that there are no right or wrong answers. Additionally, with play-based learning, children aren’t just completing a task, they’re becoming makers. If a task is set, such as ‘crossing the crocodile river’, the outcome will always provide a path from A to B, but the open-ended nature of the task allows for children to think critically and design their own path based on creativity.
Bringing the world into the classroom
It’s important to ensure that what is being taught relates to the real world too. For example, if a teacher wants to teach preschool children basic coding concepts such as sequencing and looping, why not introduce a task that asks the children to build a train track for a train that needs to escort goods to a village in the countryside. Not only does this provide children with the opportunity to explore communities, but it again allows children to use skills such as problem-solving and imagination to solve the task.
A simple task like this can also be adapted to be cross-curricular too. For example, elements of the railway history can be introduced so the children have to design railways to demonstrate the evolution of trains throughout time.
Bringing in elements of creativity, arts, and play goes further than just encouraging the development of initial knowledge around programming and coding. It allows for children to explore concepts in a creative and engaging way that opens up the opportunity to learn skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and of course team work, sharing, and communication skills.
Incorporating the arts and creativity opens up a door to build these key skills, and using resources specifically designed with this purpose, makes learning not only fun and engaging but also encourages the development of foundational knowledge, so children can reach their full potential as they move through the education sector.
LEGO Education will be joining the CreativeHUT stand (F70) at Bett this year to showcase its hands-on STEAM resources that promote a continuum of learning.
Teachers can sign up for training workshops to try out Coding Express through the CreativeHUT website - creative-hut.co.uk