Ready for Big School, an animated storybook app game, uses pretend interactive play (role-play) to explore the idea of children going to school for the first time. The app is designed to help boost a child’s confidence to practise routines and familiarise themselves with what to expect when they attend full-time school.
Launched globally in Febraury, 2019, this learning app is available in 6 languages namely Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Te Reo Maori is designed to provide a simple and interactive way to help teach kids about routines and self-help skills like matching, recognising colours, letters, shapes, counting and emotions.
Manish Joshi from NewsBarons connects with Abel Tutagalevao, Founder of Ready For Big School who informs ‘It’s not just about educating kids, it’s also about keeping cultures and languages alive by supporting indigenous communities and in turn allowing children to appreciate those in school and community, and to understand the significance of cultural heritage’.
NB: How does Ready for Big School help toddlers and school going children
Abel: The app helps toddlers and preschoolers gain greater confidence in knowing what to expect when they start full-time school. In some countries, some children don’t have the opportunity because they don’t experience attending preschool. Those that attend preschool sometimes don’t have adequate practise to playact scenarios at full-time school. Children may only attend a few school visits to familiarise themselves with the school environment and observe but they’re not practising situations.
NB: Has there been a study to design the content for Ready for Big School?
Abel: Transitioning to school is always a big hot topic for this age group worldwide. You can search and find many western countries with advanced learning structures focussing on this very topic. I’ve worked with many Preschool Centre Managers and educators as well as primary/elementary school principals to create real-like scenarios and needs that these children will experience.
NB: How does Ready for Big School help children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Abel: By providing audio and visual cues to help children with sensory and visual needs understand transitioning to school better.
NB: Has Ready for Big School raised funds? If yes, please inform.
Abel: Yes. Through a silent partner who is Indian and is passionate about helping Indian children be confident learners.
NB: Tell us about your plans for India
Abel: I would like to make this resource accessible to all Indian preschool age children throughout India. Providing the app in English will help give them a great start. Providing the app in the Hindi language and later in Punjabi will help ensure that we promote the ethnic languages in India and for Indian children living outside of India to preserve their language.
NB: What are the challenges you foresee in promoting this app in
Abel: I don’t forsee any challenges other than getting the app out there to homes and children that will benefit from this resource. If users and children overlook the images (perhaps the props and background of the app as “non-Indian”, but see the benefits the game then it will achieve the purpose of the game. The purpose is to boost a child’s confidence in preparing for school and knowing what to expect. It will also ease a parent’s anxiety about the readiness of their child for full-time school and ensuring that they are getting the best start to their learning.