Since we can't presume that all parents are able to connect to 3G network or wifi, the app for the H@ppy tablet can work both online and offline, without affecting the engagement level of the program.
ONLINE - The "connected" tablet allows parents to get part of a broader community (to share activities results or to enter a "family challenge" and compete against other families) directly @ their home.
OFFLINE - The offline tablet is anyway set to work correctly, based on an "adaptive" approach: as soon as the parents proceed with activities the tablet automatically redirect new activities to proceed with progress.
Online activities can be anyway selected and fulfilled at the H@ppiness centre, that will be provided with wifi connection.
Play during early childhood is necessary if humans are to reach their full potential, but it can improve also adults' skills of curiosity and creativity.
Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Observation sessions have highlighted that in low income families, mainly for a lack of awareness, parents unlikely play with their children, but mostly control or supervise their activities.
So, how might we incentivize the playful interaction between parents and their children in low income families?
The H@ppiness Game, which will last approximately for 1 year and half, will lead parents and their children along the early childwood thriving path, boosting their playful interaction.
For each community, according to social habits and geographical peculiarities, will be defined a volunteer Happiness Ambassador. The Happiness Ambassador can be a public representative, a member of the church or a teacher. He should be choosen for his “networking potential”, since he should have the highest number of contacts on the field. The ambassador is in charge of identifying lowest income families in his community and getting in touch with them. Families who become acquainted through word of mouth, if their profile is in line with the scope, can also run for the game.
To get part of the program, beside a low income level, families should have at least one child that is under 5 years old.
Each family selected will partecipate to a kick-off meeting. The meeting will be held in the Happiness Centre located in the community and it will be led by a team of experts (teachers, psychologists, doctors,...) to introduce the purpose, the scope, the educational benefits, the mechanism of the game and rewards.
All the families will be given an H@ppiness Kit that includes: a H@ppy tablet and handcraft materials (paper, pencils, play dough...). The tablet is developed and provided under the sponsorship of a corporation that produces toys and devices for childhood. It is taylor made for children in terms of design, ergonomy, interface, privacy and security management of the app. Since we can't presume that parents are able to read, the language of the app will be mainly figurative and will use mainly videos, images and icons to facilitate correct understanding.
At the first use, parents and children are asked firstly to create their avatars (similar for physical details and mood) and secondly to go through a briefly funny game, which actually collects personal informations that will help the digital app to define the profiles and automatically identify an optimized playing path.
At the first log in, parents will watch an animatic tutorial which explain with an easy iconography the overall benefits of the game and the areas of child's (and parents') brain that will be trained. The areas will be 5: creativity skills, cognitive and linguistic skills, motor skills, non verbal skills, social skills.The tutorial will explain also the mechanism of the game.
The game will be organized along three progressive levels: basic, intermediate and advanced.
Each level will last maximum 6 months and will train, with an increasing difficulty, all the 5 brain's areas through daily activities that parents and children should do together.
Infact, based on the initial profiles (and for the next log in, the daily progress) the parents will be proposed automatically a daily activity to do with their children. The activity can be:
- Listening, learning and creating nursery rhyme (mealtime, sleeptime, playtime);
- Small hand craft activities;
- Creating fairy tales;
- Playing theatre;
To remember the family to partecipate, the H@ppy tab will send automatically daily acustic push up notifications both through the device and the telephone/mobile phone (in case they have previously registered the telephone number).
At the end of each daily session, they have to do a test game or to post a picture of the result of the activity to check the status. The app will automatically count the points of each test game and keep record of the progress. The points will be used to define the family's level.
After the test game, they can share the results with the community and decide if starting and extra activity or not.
The more they play, the faster they are in completing the activities proposed, the more they can do extra activities and gain extra points.
The reward for passing the level will be the H@ppiness Box, which will include mainly food and basic tools for daily life (potteries, towels, etc).
This will lead every six months the families to the Happiness center, where they will meet up with experts and peers to share feedbacks on the game, on their progress and on the results. They will also receive suggestions about how to proceed and they will be given the H@ppiness box.
Reached the intermediate level, family will be proposed to take part to on-line challenges with other families. Thanks to the initial profile created, the app will automatically propose the same challenge to families with similar attitudes just to booster networking and socialization across the community.
At the end of the game, in each community involved there will be a winner, based on top scoring.
The reward of the final winner family will be the H@ppiness Day, which consists in the possibility to live together a day which the family cannot normally afford, as a day trip or to attend a drama in a theatre or a sport match...
It will increase the awareness of parents about their impact on children future;
It will prompt parents and children to play together strenghtening their relationship;
It will inspire parents about activities to do with their children;
It will improve quality of time they will spend together;
It will help families with basic needs (short term reward);
It will stimulate families projection skills (final reward);
It will encourage parents into networking with other families.