Even though there is a broad consensus about how digital skills are essential to do well in our future society, there is less certainty about the best way to introduce the youngest children to the digital world. A key idea of the Minimakerspace project is that we should be making IT and learning technology a part of children’s daily life, instead of considering it as something separate from the other offers of kindergartens. That means incorporating themes from the pedagogical teaching plans, so that the selected technology helps to support the personal, social, linguistic, motorial, and aesthetical development of the children.
Many learning technologies encourage group activities, where the children can work together to make their ideas take physical form. 3D printing or programming become just another material than can be used on an equal footing with cardboard, colour markers, and building blocks. Instead of limiting children to just becoming digital consumers, we should prepare them to be able to use technologies creatively and socially. The starting point is the experimenting play, where a sense of familiarity and comfort increases the curiosity of the children. If the pedagogical themes are considered as something, which can be used in all six categories of learning technologies, the digital skills should be firmly formed in children’s versatile education.
In order to show how each skill set can be used across all pedagogical themes, a series of learning activities are being developed, which the pedagogical staff can use as a starting point. The function of these activities will be to create a basis that will make it easier to approach the learning technologies and to learn how to use them in the best way. These learning activities are developed by Hippomini's consultants in close cooperation with the participating institutions.
The consultants from Hippomini will facilitate two days of training at the beginning of the project. They will ensure that knowledge and practical experience will be shared across participating institutions for as long as the project continues. Thereby the pedagogical staff plays an important and active role in the development and documentation of the project. Every institution has access to a certain amount of consulting hours from Hippomini, so there is an option of having a consultant visiting for a half or a whole day. The continuous information sharing between pedagogues and consultants makes it possible to share knowledge, to implement changes, and to develop improved learning materials, that make sense in the context of the working day at a kindergarten.