Since the first two Nintendo Labo Toy-Con Kits launched for Switch in April, it has become clear that Nintendo Labo is at its best when it is being used as an educational tool and toy for children to build and try out with the help of an adult. Because of this, Nintendo has been taking several steps to poise Labo as an educational tool in the months since launch. Several Nintendo Labo Workshops are being held around the US this year, and it looks like Nintendo Labo will finally make its way to the classroom with Institute of Play’s help.
Institute of Play is a non-profit that aims to “create learning experiences rooted in the principles of game design.” This mantra fits pretty well with the concept behind Nintendo Labo, so it makes sense that the non-profit would agree to partner with Nintendo and get the Labo into classrooms this school year. While Nintendo is providing the Toy-Con kits, Institute of Play is building the program’s curriculum. Arana Shapiro, Co-Executive Director of the Institute of Play, explained why she thinks this partnership is great:
“We are always on the lookout for new tools and technologies that combine the best of learning with the spirit of play, and in Nintendo Labo we found an inspiring and innovative approach in both areas. Teachers in the pilot program are already seeing the natural fit for Nintendo Labo in the classroom, and now we can bring that dynamic to schools across the country.”
Speaking of the pilot program, this Nintendo Labo curriculum is already being tested in several schools around New York City. After completing this pilot program, Nintendo and Institute of Play will release a Nintendo Labo Teacher Guide and expand to 100 schools in the US. When all is said and done, this Nintendo Labo program will “reach approximately 2,000 students ages 8 to 11 during the 2018-2019 school year.”
Interested schools can currently sign up for the program on Institute of Play’s website, though this specific program is only running through March 2019. That being said, with the Labo’s continued success and a Teacher Guide releasing soon, this program will likely return during the 2019-2020 school year. Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime also seems eager and excited about the program when discussing it, which is a good sign for the program’s future:
“The ingenuity of Nintendo Switch brings Nintendo Labo to life to provide a fun way for kids to explore basic STEAM topics together and be entertained while building a fundamental understanding of the technology behind them. We hope our programs in the United States and Canada encourage kids to explore, tinker, problem-solve and, in the process, get excited about design and technology – all while having fun.”