- Miami-Dade County Public Schools launched a preschool coding and robotics program in some of its child care centers, using high school students to help with the teaching, according to District Administration. The older students are part of a program that trains them to become child care professionals.
- Older and younger students worked with KinderLab Robotics’ KIBO Blocks — simplistic coding toys, which, when rearranged, create robotic movements, and teach the first steps of coding.
- The district hopes to push the program into more high schools with on-site child care centers for the 2019-20 school year.
Preschool-age children love to have visitors in their classrooms, especially if they are cool teenagers. Such opportunities can translate into a powerful, and positive, experience for both. Younger students are likely going to be more excited, and more engaged, when taught by high school students. And the teens gain a sense of responsibility by serving as a mentor and role model for younger children.
When implementing this practice as part of career and technical educational programs, students also gain early classroom experience in the field of early-childhood education. Exposure to a preschool setting may inspire them to pursue teaching as a career.
Finally, these sessions, particularly when they involve coding, robotics or even virtual and augmented reality, can also meet a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum component for both the older and younger students. While makerspaces are certainly one way that students gain exposure to STEM tools, having students act as peer mentors is another way that educators can encourage students to learn how to work together, and gain from what others have discovered along the way.