PHILOSOPHY AS A FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN TO PLAY WITH SCRATCH IN KINDERGARTEN
Scratch from MIT Media Lab is an application and visual programming language that allows children to play with each other mediated by a computer. In opposition to video games, in this software program children are authors and producers of their play and games.
The “Scratch’ando com o sapo na infância” (Childhood with Scratch in motion) project aims to improve the Scratch programming for children from 4 to 6 years old. In this way, they can learn to play with Scratch and they can play alone with other children.
The intervention-training-experiencing with Scratch occurs at the Kindergarten of Cooperativa A Torre in Lisbon and consists of two phases, the first is conducted with children from 5 and 6 years old and the second one is accomplished with children from 4 and 5 years old.
This article intends to describe and make clear the second phase of intervention with children, their parents and educators. The second phase involves advising and tutoring strategies carried out by the researcher that provides the children’s decision of choosing with whom they want to play in Scratch.
The Scratch sessions happen in the classroom with the support of the kindergarten teacher, are integrated into the educational process and are linked to the teacher conversations with children about Philosophy for Children (Lipman, 1972).
According to Lipman the philosophy for children consists in doing research with them and it is important develop informal philosophical conversations with children in contexts outside the school. The introduction of philosophy in the children’s world is also important, because it is representative of the human thinking heritage, promoting the rationality and critical spirit of children and preparing them to think and interact.
After the discovery and familiarization stages, when children have already know the main concepts of Scratch programming and the researcher-trainer supports them by responding to their requests (tutored autonomy), children playing and working all together in Scratch from the chosen source of inspiration. This source is the book “O Segredo do Rio” (The Secret of the River) by Miguel Sousa Tavares, that children are exploring with kindergarten teacher in philosophy sessions. The Scratch projects that result from this activity are shared with parents and school community.