“Project Ciufcia (choo-choo train) was developed by Han Galee Internet marketing company over a year ago for one of their clients. The client withdrew from the project leading to Michal Dyrda, development manager at Han Galee and his colleagues independently continuing its development and modification.
Ciufcia is a unique pedagogical and psychological program designed to develop a child’s intelligence interactively with parents via the Internet.
Ciufcia is accessed via the web site www.ciufcia.pl, where children from 2 to 6 can find 35 different task-like activities to be completed in cooperation with a parent, rather than in competition like many other computer based games/activities.
The project’s authors stress the importance of parental-child interaction in completing the activities, as the programs purpose is not just for keeping the child occupied. Key to the programs effectiveness is setting performance standards, cooperation and physical engagement between parent and child.
Ciufcia activities aim to improve personal contact between a parent and child by enabling the adult to guide their child through completing a particular task. They can also learn about the world together and explore its perils, but in a much safer environment than in reality, such as watching a computer generated pot boil over.
“”This is the first project of its kind in the world. And the 35 activities that are available now is only the beginning”” said Dyrda. “”In March next year we plan to have 150 different activities for kids plus an Internet platform for parents to put their profiles and comments on and exchange useful information.””
Ciufcia’s developers have had limited success consulting with specialists in the fields of communications, child psychology and Information Technology on the project’s benefits as they found the scientific community forming a pejorative position on any engagement involving children and the Internet.
“”These negative theories come from outdated reports in the mid-80s, when a screen’s radiation was overwhelming. Besides, whereas in Europe children’s access to a computer is seen as something normal, in Poland it’s seen as spoiling rather than developing”” said Dyrda. “”Now, times have changed. Computers are so common that we cannot avoid them, what’s more, we can use them for our benefit. It’s a pity some parents are afraid to explore their potential.””
Apart from temporary entertainment, it is hoped that Ciufcia can generate new data on child learning, perception and their worldview. Watching different reactions of children using Ciufcia can help adults understand their actions and emotions.
A scientific conference is planned after the full launch of Ciufcia. It is hoped that the issue of a computer being an educational and personality development tool will be widely discussed and bear fruit in differentiating the scientific and social approach to this area.
“”Good communication between a child and parent positively affects relationships between all members of a family”” said Dyrda. “”It also has a powerful impact on future family bonds, good relationships with people in general, emotional stability and success in adult life. We at Ciufcia also support the theory of positive communication being transferred to intellectual development, and this we do by just putting the theory into practice.””
Ciufcia’s developers do not pursue any marketing targets and state their project is a non-profit one. Currently the project is self-funded and the developers are seeking sponsorship on a non-commercial basis. In the future Dyrda and his colleagues plan to move Ciufcia out of the Internet.
“”Our statistics show that Ciufcia is becoming more and more popular, both with new visitors and regular users”” said Dyrda. “”I just can’t wait till all the potential of Ciufcia is realized. It may revolutionize child psychology and open up a variety of possibilities.””