Dundalk-based Grásta Christian School is one of the first schools in Ireland, and within Europe, to use Scratch and Google CS-First Curriculum to teach their pupils how computer systems are used in real world industries.
The school started teaching foundation computer programming using the ICS Computing Curriculum four years ago. The Computing Curriculum covers four areas to give students a challenge and formalise their learning in four key areas: digital media, computational thinking, multimedia storytelling and microcontrollers.
After taking the ICS computing curriculum, the children have been able to develop their own impressive and diverse computer programmes. They went on to follow the Google CS-First curriculum, which introduced students to storyboarding, digital art and animation among other topics. This gave them an insight into the varied and exciting sectors within the wider IT industry.
In 2017, the school even introduced Python programming to their curriculum, using the Penjee platform. The platform serves as a transition from drag and drop programming to hand coding.
Head teacher Catherine Lynch explained the importance of technology in schools: “By learning to create and use technology at primary level, our pupils are being prepared to meet the challenges, not of today’s world, but of tomorrow’s.”
The ICS Foundation runs Ireland’s National Scratch Competition to inspire Ireland's next generation of digital creators. Find out more about Scratch here.
Image: Participants who completed a Scratch Computer Programming Course at Grásta Christian School, 2014.