Learning has never been such fun!
A computer is an ideal teaching tool for young children - if you have the right software.
Fun School 2 for the Under Sixes consists of eight colourful and exciting programs that have been carefully designed by a team of educationalists.
The computer itself monitors the child's progress. The skill level - initially set by the parents - is automatically adjusted to suit the child's ability.
Now children can enjoy using their parents' computer while learning at their own pace.
Fun School for the Under Sixes consists of:
* Shape Snap: Colourful shape recognition
* Find the Mole: Experiment with number sizes
* Teddy Count: Ideal introduction to numbers
* Write a Letter: Creative fun at the keyboard
* Colour Train: Play at spotting colours
* Pick a Letter: Easy steps to word building
* Spell a Word: Enjoy naming the pictures
* Teddy Bears Picnic: Move around a maze
Each program has been thoroughly tested in homes and school.
You can give your children a head start with Fun School 2 - it's the ideal way to introduce infants to the joys of using a computer.
Welcome to the Fun School 2 package for children under six years old. This suite of eight programs has been carefully designed to combine fun and a wide range of essential early skills.
But it is not enough to simply boot the disc or load the tape and leave your child facing the screen. Depending on how much computer experience your children have already had, you may need to point out the keys they will need for each game and check that they know what is required. We find even very young children soon learn to use menus to choose what they want to play - often with a skill well above their reading ability.
If your child hasn't used a computer before there are a few basic rules which you may like to insist on - like not touching discs or the power controls. It's a good idea to ban drinks from around the computer - orange juice does not improve the keyboard.
Computer keyboards can be very daunting to a new user - of any age! - and young children have to learn to pick out the target keys from all the mass of squiggly information. Most of the programs in this suite use a limited number of keys although numbers and letters are used where necessary.
It's a good idea if, at first, the child concentrates on the programs with the least number of keys to remember such as Shape Snap, Colour Train and Teddy Bear Picnic. Coloured stickers can also be easily applied to the keys at first to help focus attention.
The number keys are particularly confusing as they have not only the digits but the shifted symbol on each single key. Children will find it easier if pieces of sticky paper with the numbers clearly written on them are placed on the keys.
Also, the letter keys are labelled in capitals. Stickers can again be used to create a lower case keyboard if you want.
Wherever possible the programs are designed to allow various levels of difficulty. As the child becomes more competent the exercise automatically advances to the next level, or goes down a level if the player is having difficulty. The level starts at the lowest but can also be set by parents by following the instructions in the keys section below.
Although sound is an important part of the games, increasing the child's enjoyment and helping distinguish between right and wrong answers, not everyone wants it at full volume all the time. This is particularly true in the classroom where the tantalising sounds from the micro can disrupt all the other work in the room. Follow the instructions in the keys section to adjust the sound to suit the occasion.
Finally, as with all learning, children vary as to how quickly they grasp the different skills involved in using computer educational games. Some may be satisfied with sticking to a single program again and again while others flit from one to another, hardly finishing a complete game before starting another.
Fortunately the micro is as patient with repetition as it is with interrupted tasks. There is no absolute right or wrong way to use the programs, simply be guided by the child's own enjoyment and let Fun School do the teaching.
The controls are given in the program descriptions that follow but, in any program, pressing ESCAPE and replying N to the "Another Go?" prompt will return you to the menu on the disc version or return you to Basic to allow you to CHAIN another program on tape. At the prompt there are also some hidden options for teachers and parents:
On programs where difficulty levels can be selected, you can press CTRL+D and enter your choice. This will be the new default for all the programs
On programs where your own selection of words can be entered, you can press CTRL+W and enter them
Sound can be turned off by pressing CTRL-Q or on with CTRL-S
Joysticks may be selected by pressing Fire and keyboard selected with SPACE - Fire then replaces the SPACE bar
On the BBC Micro and Electron, Z, X, / and : are often used for left, right, up and down movement. In these instructions, where arrow keys are mentioned you may use either these popular keys in place of the arrow (cursor) keys or joystick.
Loading instructions are on the disc or tape label and, in the case of discs, you will be presented with a menu. Use the arrow keys to scroll through the options and RETURN or the SPACEBAR to select, or press the appropriate number key.