When refugee families arrive in Brighton and don’t speak English they quickly learn words such as “Sainsbury’s” and “How are you?”. But the children need a different set of words for school that they don’t hear at home. As a 3 year old in a new culture, starting nursery can be confusing and scary. It could make a big difference to settling in if they are familiar with the words in The Hungry Caterpillar and The Wheels on the Bus.
So I came up with the idea of adding an electronic circuit to a wooden peg puzzle. When a child puts the right piece in, it says the word out loud in English. The boy I made it for started repeating the words immediately and he loved holding the speaker to his ear, though it’s intended to be inside in the finished version.
With the benefit of a grant and mentoring from the RSA, I am developing a digital version so it can include a lot more words and reach more people. MIT App Developer was perfect for creating a basic prototype for user testing. I’ve programmed it to say the word when you click on an image and am learning to use Adobe Animate to make drag and drop puzzle pieces.