World ORT introduces robotics in kindergartens

"Their way of thinking changes; it is much more science-oriented," says head of Israeli branch.

Children turn Lego toys into robots 370 (photo credit: Courtesy World ORT Kadima Mada)
Children turn Lego toys into robots 370
(photo credit: Courtesy World ORT Kadima Mada)
A new experimental program conducted by the Jewish education organization World ORT recently introduced robotics in local kindergartens.
The initiative, which currently runs at three kindergartens in Kiryat Yam, provides 5-yearolds with Lego toys they can assemble into robots in the shape of cars, cranes and other similar objects. The children then play with the robots and learn to control them electronically.
According to Avi Ganon, head of World ORT Kadima Mada, the Israeli branch of the organization, over 60 children are already participating in the program.
“The goal is to provide the kids with tools for thinking scientifically from a young age,” Ganon told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.
“We give them robotics as a game, but through it they learn the essence of science,” he continued.
Ganon explained results have already been noticed in the participating pupils.
“Their way of thinking changes, it is much more science- oriented: they start speaking in terms of physical rules without even knowing what they really mean yet.”
The operation is carried out with the partnership of Tel Aviv University, which brings in professionals to train preschool teachers on how to manipulating the objects with the pupils.
In recent years, World ORT Kadima Mada, which works to strengthen science and technology education in the country, has conducted many different technology-oriented initiatives such as equipping “smart” classroom in the periphery and distance-learning which was used by pupils in the South during Operation Pillar of Defense last month.
“Science is the one main subject we have on our agenda. If in older times, carpentry used to be an important skill to learn, today, it is science, robotics, physics and other things like that,” he said.
“What we are basically doing is upgrading classrooms and bringing them to the 21st century,” he added.
World ORT is now looking to expand the project, which cost the organization around 60,000 dollars for the next three years, within Israel as well as internationally.
It has just recently been implemented in the only Jewish kindergarten in Chisinau, Moldova.