The Promoting Science to the Public (PSP)-Flagship scheme supports large, multiannual projects that aim to have a lasting impact on Luxembourg’s society. We take a look at the PSP Flagship project BEE CREATIVE for kids, which stimulates digital and scientific skills in children.
The goal of this PSP-Flagship project retained in the 2016 call is to use non-formal education and ‘makerspaces’ to promote a creative and scientific use of ICT-tools and thereby develop digital and scientific skills among children aged 6 to 12.
“One goal of the project is to test and promote the implementation of local makerspaces adapted for children in day care structures (‘maisons relais’), in collaboration with adjacent fundamental schools”, explains Eric Krier, coordinator of the project. ”Such makerspaces give children the possibility to work on scientific projects using digital tools such as a 3D printer, programming and soldering stations, and by using their creativity skills.”
For this project, the Service National de la Jeunesse (SNJ) and SCRIPT partnered with researchers at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). They developed a programmable micro-controller called ‘Kniwwelino’ especially designed for young children. After learning the basics of how to program the Kniwwelino step-by-step, the children can express their own creativity by implementing their ideas. Examples include a scissor-paper-stone game or a bicycle bell.
Valérie – a computer scientist herself and leader of the Kniwwelino sub-project – explains that computer science is perceived by many adults as boring, too complicated, or something just for nerds, but not so by young kids:
“At this age, children are not yet influenced by such stereotypes and show great curiosity and interest in new things. With Kniwwelino, we try to take advantage of this natural curiosity and allow children to experience that programming is fun, creative, and not at all that complicated.”
The Kniwwelino is also used in professional training of educators and teachers. In addition, the BEE CREATIVE for Kids project leaders organise national events to engage more children and their carers.