Kindergarten children are too busy having fun to notice the wide range of skills they are acquiring and developing with the new robotics course.

Moldova has the dubious distinction of being Europe’s poorest country but, thanks to World ORT, its capital’s only Jewish kindergarten has introduced a robotics program which is not only unique in the republic, it’s almost unheard of in pre-schools around the world.

Thanks to a partnership with the Jewish Congress of Moldova and the expertise gained from World ORT’s pilot robotics program in three Israeli kindergartens, Jewish children in Kishinev are being equipped with the technical and life skills necessary for success in the 21st century.

“The children are delighted – they took to it immediately,” said the kindergarten’s principal, Svetlana Iliadi. “For them, working with the robotics kits is like a holiday but they are actually learning to solve problems creatively, express their thoughts in a clear, logical way, to defend their point of view, to analyze situations and arrive at answers by logical reasoning. The Lego kits we use are expensive and working with them requires appropriately qualified specialists: without World ORT it would have been impossible.”

The seed of the project was planted during the visit of a World ORT delegation last year. Since then, World ORT staff members in Moldova have been collaborating with colleagues in Israel on how to adapt the program underway in three kindergartens in Kiryat Yam for the needs of the Kishinev children. The Lego kits used to build the robots were unavailable in Moldova so World ORT bought them in Ukraine and imported them.

World ORT’s pilot program in Israel is itself an extension of the pioneering work led by Professor David Mioduser, Head of Tel Aviv University’s Teaching Sciences Department, in a kindergarten in Ramat Gan.

One of World ORT’s main objectives in Israel is to increase the number of children studying science and technology in high schools but experience has shown that many decide against such subjects for no reason other than that they are unfamiliar with them. Introducing them to relevant concepts at an early age will make it easier for more of them to continue on that track as they get older.