The Virginia Beach Public Library has implemented new programs for children in kindergarten to second grade, some of which teach basic computer coding skills — but with wooden robots rather than computers.
The two programs, Cubetto and KIBO, both teach the basics of computer programming, according to the library.
Cubetto is a wooden robot that explores the world through different stories, while KIBO encourages imagination through creative play.
Both toys help spark interest in science, engineering, art, technology and math concepts, often referred to as “STEAM,” without requiring a computer, tablet or smartphone to participate, library officials said.
The “unplugged” nature of Cubetto and KIBO removes barriers in teaching basic coding concepts to young children who can’t yet read instructions.
“Coding is the new literacy for the 21st century,” said Nicole McGee, technology training coordinator at VBPL. “It helps build skills essential for today’s world, such as problem-solving, collaboration and persistence. And, with computing jobs as the top source of all new wages in the United States, a basic understanding of coding is an important career development skill.”
The new programs are “Adventures with Cubetto: Storytime,” offered in eight classes across five VBPL branches in March and April, and “Coding with Kibo,” offered at Great Neck and Bayside libraries.
For registration and additional details about those and other programs as well as Take Home Tech options, click here.
VBPL bought multiple sets of Cubetto and KIBO to use in programs throughout the library system.
The toys were funded by a generous $23,000 grant from the Virginia Beach Library Foundation, according to the library.