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IBM & Kindergartens Launch Kidsmart


IBM and New Zealand Kindergartens Incorporated Launch KidSmart Early Learning Programme

As you know, the Budget announcement made at the end of May will enable kindergartens and community child-care centres to provide their service free for the parents of three and four-year-olds for up to 20 hours a week.

This week IBM NZ made two announcements about how the company is investing in the community to help children gain access to technology...

25th June, 2004 - IBM and New Zealand Kindergartens Incorporated Launch KidSmart Early Learning Programme

June 25th 2004, Nelson, New Zealand, IBM and New Zealand Kindergartens Incorporated today announced the launch of KidSmart, an innovative educational initiative designed to allow children to access technology. The KidSmart educational programme provides kindergartens with custom built PC-kiosks, award winning educational software and teacher training on how to use the KidSmart technology.

The KidSmart programme is designed to introduce technology to children aged 3 - 6 years, their parents and teachers, in ways that enhance early childhood education. IBM’s KidSmart initiative aims to attract and involve parents to support the use of technology in the home and at school. To date IBM has donated 10 KidSmart units to kindergartens in the Wellington Region - providing many children with fun, interactive learning, and access to new technology.

Today at an early learning conference in Nelson, IBM announced a public-private partnership with New Zealand Kindergartens to install a further 80 KidSmart units in early childhood centres throughout New Zealand by the end of 2004. When selecting kindergartens for the programme, various socioeconomic criteria are considered to ensure that KidSmart educational resources are provided to centres where they will have the greatest impact.

IBM New Zealand Managing Director, Nick Lambert, said, “In today’s knowledge-led economy, the education of our children is vital for our nation’s ongoing success. Programmes such as KidSmart help children in under-resourced areas benefit from access to technology. IBM is committed to helping bridge the “digital divide.’”

“Technology is a facilitator of learning. KidSmart is helping to equip our children with the critical skills they will need in the future. KidSmart is a tool that enriches teaching and learning, so that children arrive at primary school prepared and excited to learn,” said Mr. Lambert.

New Zealand Kindergartens President, Karen Boyes said, “We are delighted to be part of the KidSmart programme. This will allow kindergartens to incorporate technology into their centres enhancing the dynamic, friendly, learning environment for children who may not have normally have access to computers."

IBM’s KidSmart initiative is part of the company’s Corporate Community Relations programme which aims to make strategic investments that help benefit communities by using IBM’s technological expertise in the important mission of corporate citizenship.

On IBM’s Corporate Community Relations (CCR) programme, Mr. Lambert said, “IBM’s commitment to solutions-oriented innovation requires that we go beyond simple cheque book philanthropy. We are working hand-in-hand with public and non-profit organisations to design technology solutions that address specific issues. Public-private partnerships are an important way in which IBM can make a difference in the community.”

Mrs Boyes said, “We are delighted to develop a partnership that will ensure that New Zealand’s skill base is enhanced. The potential benefits of ICT for young children’s learning are well documented.”

Yesterday in Christchurch, as part of IBM’s CCR programme, IBM launched a TryScience kiosk at Science Alive! TryScience is a custom designed educational resource for 8 - 12 year olds. TryScience includes an interactive computer kiosk that acts as a “virtual science centre” linking to activities at science museums around the world. TryScience content is developed by the New York Hall of Science and ASTC museums and the entire network is centrally managed and updated by IBM. IBM launched a TryScience kiosk at the Otago Museum in Dunedin last month.

Other IBM CCR activities include a partnership with Women In Technology to help create awareness among New Zealand women about the benefits and advantages of careers in technology. IBM is providing support to Women In Technology for its training courses, educational outreach and networking programmes.

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