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Hackney school trials Primo ahead of curriculum changes

Primo aims to teach programming logic to children aged 3 to 7

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Primary school children in one of London’s most deprived boroughs are trialling new technoligies ahead of changes in the national computing curriculum set to be introduced in England this September. 

Pupils from Orchard Primary School, Hackney, have been asked to experiment and play with Kickstarter-funded Primo, which is a physical programming interface and robot kit designed to teach programming logic to children aged 3 to 7 without the need for literacy. 

Children in Year 1 will trial Primo in a hands-on classroom workshop today and will continue to provide feedback to the company ahead of its public launch in August.

The UK government’s revamped National Curriculum for England encourages pupils to actively create their own programmes and products, not just use existing IT applications.

Primo CEO Filippo Yacob said: Considering three- and four-year-olds are only starting to read and write at that age, you can’t put small children in front of a screen and ask them to learn programming if they don’t even understand the basic logic behind the subject. That’s why Primo uses simple, colourful wooden blocks and a friendly character, Cubetto, to teach the basics of computer literacy."

Schools wishing to introduce Primo to the classroom need to put their teachers through a £1,000 one-day workshop.  

"The one-day training workshops empower teachers with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to teach young children the basics of computer programming," said Yacob. 

In 2011, the Orchard Primary School piloted the use of iPads amongst Year 2 and Year 6 pupils, reporting improved reading, engagement, motivation and research.

"If Hackney's children are to benefit fully from the explosion of tech business in Hackney they need to learn to code,” according to Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch. “It's great to see another link up between a Hackney school and a local business."


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