Pantomimes may not be happening as usual, but Get with the Program is filling the gap with a free virtual coding panto that’s
every school’s Christmas wish!
UK, 16 December 2020 – Get with the Program, a theatre-in-education social enterprise, has teamed up with Winchester Science Centre, southern England’s leading science and discovery centre, to create an engaging streamed show this Christmas that teaches kids coding concepts through pantomime. Aimed at children ages 5-9 and their families, the ‘Traditional Tales’ coding panto is completely free to watch and proving to be a hit not just in the UK but around the world too.
The show, created and developed by Get with the Program founder Jeni Trice, and directed by Shona Dutta Charlton, introduces “Professor” Trice and Al the Robot who are on a mission to save the Three Bears’ Christmas Breakfast! Can they do it in time? Schools and families can expect 20-minutes of laughter, chaos and a bit of Christmas magic.
Uptake from schools has surpassed all expectations, with sign-ups for the free offer growing exponentially. In the first few days following the launch, 261 schools signed up – equivalent to 33,703 potential viewers. And when STEM Learning, the UK’s largest provider of STEM education and careers support, launched a national campaign on Tuesday 8 December, figures soared overnight to over 1,000 schools and approximately 150,000 potential viewers. The figures continue to rise, and at the last count were 247,362 viewers, with sign-ups from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, Belgium and Fiji, amongst others, as the show captures the imaginations of children everywhere.
Jeni Trice, founder of Get with the Program said: “We’re thrilled that so many children are enjoying our coding panto, which is designed to be a fun and highly engaging way to encourage students to embrace digital technology studies. Our mission is to inspire children to become the tech innovators of the future, with unique workshops that capture the students’ imaginations, teaching coding concepts through interactive theatre.”
Roopa Master-Coles from STEM NOW, based at Winchester Science Centre added, “We are delighted with the success of our collaboration with Get with the Program and their dedicated team of STEM Ambassadors. Being able to share our joy of coding with so many children in this fun and festive way is a real honour and an important stepping stone on our mission to engage as many young people as possible in STEM.”
Commenting on the workshop, Steph Roberts, Computing Lead from Grayshott Primary School, said: “All of our children hugely enjoyed the Traditional Tales themed coding pantomime – even those who aren’t usually interested in computing! Great fun was had by all – children and teachers alike. Teaching basic programming concepts in this fun, engaging way is exactly what we need to inspire children to learn about technology.”
In addition to schools, parents, grandparents and whole families are signing up to watch the show, and the feedback so far has been great. One parent who watched it with her children on the day it was released, said: “My kids really enjoyed it. It was great having the Three Bears base as even my three-year-old could mostly follow along!”
Get with the Program also run similar virtual workshops in schools throughout the country, in partnership with key businesses. The organisation’s next step is to find corporate sponsorship to convert more shows into the virtual format needed currently in schools so they can reach as many children as possible, as the computing curriculum is vital in enabling today’s students for tomorrow’s workplaces.
Their coding adventure workshops can be adapted to suit all primary school ages from Year R to Year 6 (ages 4 to 11) and can be run virtually. Get with the Program is a social enterprise designed to bring schools and businesses together so children can learn about the amazing potential of technology. With help from our business sponsors, we develop exciting tech learning events aligned to the school curriculum.
If you, your school, your business or your place of work are interested in getting involved with Get with the Program, please do get in touch!