Children’s education charity The Smith Family has expanded its Let’s Count program with the launch of an innovative Facebook Messenger bot to help parents and families experiencing disadvantage support the mathematical learning of preschool-aged children.
Developed by creative agency The Works, part of RXP Group, the social media tool complements The Smith Family’s Let’s Count program, which launched in 2009 and has helped more than 122,000 children aged 3 to 5 years learn numeracy concepts through play.
Research shows that in their first year of school, one in four children who live in Australia’s most disadvantaged communities start school behind on literacy and numeracy*.
The Smith Family’s Let’s Count program has been developed to help close this educational divide. The new Messenger bot provides parents a series of prompts to use everyday objects and tasks to help children learn mathematical concepts such as time, shapes, sizes and weights.
Douglas Nicol, strategy partner at The Works, said that using Facebook to develop the tool was important, as 70 per cent of the target audience was already highly engaged on the Messenger platform.
“Poverty doesn’t discriminate and the ability to learn maths shouldn’t be based on your postcode. Using easily accessible technology that doesn’t need downloading, means parents can be supported to help their child get to grips with fundamentals of maths at a vital stage of their development. This was an innovative project to be involved with and we’re delighted with the result.”
Joanne Carter, project manager for Let’s Count from The Smith Family, said the new platform will benefit even more children.
“Our existing Let’s Count program has positively impacted on children, parents and educators since launching more than a decade ago. Now, with funding from BOQ and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment under the National Innovation and Science Agenda, we are expanding it so more parents and families have access to activities to help their young children learn maths concepts in a practical and fun way.”
The Smith Family and The Works consulted senior early years education academics to develop the Messenger bot and through a collaborative building process, prototyped and tested it with parents before launching.
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