63525-Speaker Headshots-Discovering the

CEO, Learning Beautiful

KIM SMITH

Kim Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Learning Beautiful, a company creating timeless, Montessori-inspired materials and works for young children to learn the basics of computer science, without computers. In 2017, Kim received a Master of Science degree from the MIT Media Lab, where she was a Learning Fellow with the Learning Innovation Fellowship. As part of the Social Computing Group, Kim collaborated on the creative direction for the development of Wildflower Schools, currently a non-profit organization that facilitates a network of shopfront Montessori Schools. From 2007- 2009, she served in the US Peace Corps in rural Zambia as an educator where she led the construction and development of the area’s first preschool. She has presented her work at several education conferences, the LEGO Foundation, the White House.

A Montessori Approach to Our Technological World

Learning Beautiful creates hands-on Montessori-inspired materials for young children to learn the basics of computational thinking - without using computers or digital technology. Developed at the MIT Media Lab and researched in Montessori classrooms, Learning Beautiful takes inspiration from the proven-effective approach of the Montessori Method to address skills relevant to our children today, such as computational thinking. In this session, learn how this project was developed and researched, and the ways in which the Montessori Method is both an effective and innovative approach for teaching computer science in early childhood education. 

Through tactile, Montessori-inspired materials, Learning Beautiful breaks down the abstract complexities of our world into physical, literal building blocks for young children to learn in a developmentally enriching way. We will demonstrate some of our materials, and provide tangible ideas for you to incorporate a Montessori approach to computational thinking with your young.