An app and a toolkit for discovery, creativity, and socio-emotional learning

ALT-ER’s aim is to foster resilience in learners, lessen early school leaving, and give European children (ages 4 -6) a good start in their education. Alt-er is an EU funded project. This site gives you animation tools and an app to support socio-emotional learning amongst other skills. The app as well as learning activities are targeted to the transition phase from kindergarten to school.


Using the App

The app is safe for children to explore alone or with an adult. Best used with children aged 4-8 with an adult supporting with reflection.


Children can explore freely the vast animated world of Alt-er. All animations are hand drawn by a French art studio. Click the opaque characters to start the animations. After exploration, please ask the children what they saw and discovered and how it made them feel!

It’s important to discuss what the children see and feel. Debriefing is the key to unlock the learning potential of the app. You can put on the dialogue prompts to help you reflect with the children.

The app and all its prompt are translated into many languages.

Would you like to show something specific? Please check the menu at the top to jump directly in.

Additional Resources

Did you like the animations in the app? Why not make your own? Here are extra resources to turn your class into an animation workshop to learn even more useful skills.

Stop motion is an easy way to get started with creating animated content.

Please click the 'stop motion' icon to open material package on how to get started.

Stop Motion

Sound Editing

Photo Editing

Print & Play is a method that allows children to use their own creativity by using printable character sheets.

Please click the 'print & play' icon to open material package on how to get started.

Print & Play

Cutout Sheet

Storytelling is an enlightening and effective way for young people to make their own stories and in doing so express themselves through narratives.

Please click the 'storytelling' icon to open material package on how to get started.


Script Writing

Mobile Video

Video game creation is an emergent media for engaging self-directed creativity that also resonates thoroughly with young audiences who are very familiar with the construct.

Please click the 'game making' icon to open material package on how to get started.

Game Making

Video Editing

Green Screen

The video tutorials below will give more tips and knowledge on how to use the materials provided on this section.

Please click the 'Video Tutorials' icon to open the video tutorials playlist.

Video Tutorials



The project’s aim is to foster resilient learning environments, lessen early school leaving, and give European children (ages 4 -6) a good start in their education while providing and advancing technical skills in working with technology that will serve them well in life. For this purpose, the partnership has developed age appropriate ICT animation tools and games - as well as pedagogical framework specific to the transition phase from kindergarten to school.


Francesca Dagnino and Niccolò de Salvo (ITD-CNR)

In the light of the literature reporting about the effects of the covid pandemic on ECEC and of the interviews carried out with informants we developed the following recommendations:

  • Prioritize in-person attendance: Firstly, priority should be given to in-person attendance for children in this age group. As was widely discussed in the literature, the abrupt interruption of kindergarten attendance, although needed, negatively impacted on cognitive and socio- emotional development of children and particularly of the most disadvantaged (see for example La Valle et al., 2022 and UNESCO, 2020). Students under six years old have difficulty maintaining attention and engagement for long periods of time, which can make distance learning challenging. Additionally, children in this age group require significant social interactions and structured learning environments that cannot be ensured in remote education.
  • Ensure technological support and financial accessibility for distance learning: the experience with the pandemic showed the inequalities in terms of access to digital technologies (both infrastructure and equipment) and how they can lead to the exclusion of some groups of children in the case of a need for distance learning (Carretero-Gomez, et al, 2021). To contrast the increase of inequalities due to the different opportunities, governments should provide the necessary technological support to children and their families. In particular, governments should support those who cannot afford the cost of computer devices and reliable internet connections. This could include the provision of free or low-cost computer devices and internet connections for low-income families.
  • Provide support for parents: During the pandemic parents found themselves significantly involved in the educational activities of their children (Benigno et al., 2020), and they were not always ‘equipped’ to answer to the schools requests. Parents should be supported in helping their children participate in distance learning (and in general in dealing with ICTs) by providing them with the necessary information and resources to fulfill their role effectively (Carretero-Gomez, et al, 2021). Schools may set up online meetings both to share educational objectives and strategies and to familiarize parents with ICTs adopted with their children.
  • Ensure communication between the school and parents: school-parents communication is paramount to allow a fruitful collaboration. It is necessary to maintain regular communications (through phone calls, mails, chat, online individual/group meetings) with parents, providing updates on the progress of the school and suggestions for helping children learn at home.
  • Attention to setting during online lessons: It is necessary to ensure that children have access to a safe and secure environment so that they can participate in online school activities without any distractions or interference. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the computer or device they use for school is up-to-date, secure, and suitable for their use. In this case, as suggested by Carretero-Gomez et al., 2021 , training on digital safety should be available for teachers, school leaders, students and parents.
  • Take care of the mental health of children during and after the distance learning period: significant behavioral changes have been noted in children due to a forced distance from the class group and their peers, such as anxiety, restlessness, aggression and sleep or mood disorders. With remote education, teachers experienced the lack of personal contact and computer-mediated communication limited their possibility (in terms of times, opportunities, but also knowledge) to explore their students’ wellbeing and needs, and families were called to manage the impact of the pandemic without any help (Carretero- Gomez, et al, 2021). Children’s mental health should be carefully monitored and professional support is desirable in case of psychological distress. Teachers can provide support especially when children come back to schools setting up activities to help children coping with their experience (e.g. activities based on reading, storytelling, conversation about emotions).
  • Improve teachers’ pedagogical practices: the pandemic highlighted the need of ensuring adequate training for teachers at methodological and technological level for integrating ICTs in the teaching practice. Indeed teachers should have clear knowledge about learning objectives they are aiming to achieve and identify the precise role that ICT plays in it. Other aspects that might be improved are promoting collaboration and dialogue among peers and mastery of learning. In this line, Carretero-Gomez, et al, 2021 suggest also supporting the development of social and emotional skills by teachers, that appears to be important especially in remote schooling. Indeed, these skills should help them both to work on students’ motivation and engagements and to support their own mental well-being.
  • Online session organization: During online lessons, teachers should focus on hands-on and experiential activities that can help children in this age group better understand concepts and learn more effectively. It is recommended to organize teleconferencing teaching sessions with a duration appropriate for the child's age and attention span, and to organize interactive online learning sessions with teachers and other children of the same age, so that children can maintain a sense of belonging to their class and learn through interaction and collaboration. Asynchronous activities to be carried out with the help of parents should be also designed and made available.
  • Improve the policy in the European Union about ICT: to include Early Childhood Education and Care in national ICT strategies for education, to provide initial training and ongoing professional development for all practitioners, to optimize ICT policies by supporting parental involvement and to support knowledge building and cooperation at all levels for practitioners, policymakers, and parents
  • Benigno, V., Caruso, G., Chifari, A., Ferlino, L., Fulantelli, G., Gentile, M., Allegra, M. (2020): Le famiglie italiane e la didattica a distanza durante l'emergenza: una prima riflessione. Biblioteche Oggi Trends, Vol 6, N° 2 pp.111-121.

    Carretero Gomez, S., Napierala, J., Bessios, A, Mägi, E., Pugacewicz, A., Ranieri, M., Triquet, K., Lombaerts, K., Robledo Bottcher, N., Montanari, M., & Gonzalez Vazquez, I. (2021). What did we learn from schooling practices during the COVID-19 lockdown. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg,

    La Valle I., Lewis J., Crawford C., Paull G., Lloyd E., Ott E., Mann G., Drayton E., Cattoretti G., Hall A., & Willis E. (2022). Implications of COVID for Early Childhood Education and Care in England. Centre for Evidence and Implementation.

    UNESCO (2020). Nurturing the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Children and Young People During Crises. UNESCO. Retrieved from

Intended Outcomes

  • Creation of a digital Toolbox platform, consisting of existing and/or necessary and internally developed tools and animation activities and for GBL and ECEC contexts. ALT-ER is primarily aimed at teachers for use with students, but can potential have a much wider range of impact.
  • Development of a pedagogical framework that embraces creative and innovative learning activities and children’s needs while addressing skepticism, reluctance, and low uptake concerning ICT activities in general and as related to ECEC specifically
  • Analysis reports on experiences from the pilot testing and workshop events which highlight the methodology and thinking behind the project further justifying both the framework and activities while generating new knowledge in a highly relevant of European policy
  • Publications and interactive platforms for transmission of the knowledge created during ALT-ER project

These combined outputs are thought to be the basis for real change in understanding, appreciation, and practice as regard to benefits and potential of using ICT in ECEC contexts and will create an atmosphere that is hoped will, moving forward, effect EU concerns about early school leavers, enhance performance in education systems, and allow for development of digital competences that will facilitate and improve eventual entry to the labor market.

Project Progress from project manager's perspective

To this point, the project group has investigated the standards and practices in each of the partner countries and are compiling the knowledge into a graphic that will serve to contextualise the accepted processes in each country in order to draw parallels and inform external audiences of the expectations, standards, and practices that exist across the EU.

This has and will continue to provide insight into the areas of development necessary in each partner country, and allow for a scatter plot based on age range and assumed effectiveness of learning activities and goals for the project. This knowledge has and continues to form the basis for the framework we are developing, which will contextualise and justify digital tools for learning as well as prescribing a process for educators to interact with the toolbox that we are curating and creating original elements for.

We have enacted several workshops to this point both in the discovery phase and in further development of a concept that is effective for the deployment of the learning goals we are building based on the preliminary research. Initial concept designs were well received with younger audiences, but were rejected by those in the latter stages of the age band in question as being immature. This led to a reexamination of the issues coming to the forefront, and the best way in which to address them without ostracising any part of the diverse group of intended participants.

Teachers and students on the younger side of the age band very much enjoyed a preliminary concept we were developing that took a train as the main conceit, controlled by the user, and which stopped at activities along the way. As mentioned, this concept proved very popular among groups of younger oriented audiences, but was ultimately rejected by groups representing the older age range in question. Additional research determined that the concept was deemed to be age inappropriate by the older children on the grounds that similar concepts had been a part of their formative experience as toddlers, and were said to be “boring” and intended for younger audiences. Youth respondents referred to a LEGO app that functioned in a similar manner and claimed that was “a game for babies.” This conforms to research provided by multiple partners that young people are far more likely to identify with a concept thought to be slightly beyond their age than one that caters to younger audiences.

Additional testing commenced, and upon regrouping at the second partner meeting, experiences and research led a debate about the best strategy for moving forward. As a result, this train concept was replaced with a hide and seek construct that would be scalable to any age range. Group work has determined that the ease of inclusion of hints, and the manner in which each experience could be augmented and have benefit added by a teacher or parents’ involvement made this a perfect fit for the needs of the project, the target groups, and European students and teachers.

We have engaged with audiences outside the formal partner constellation, mainly represented by schools in each partner country that we have met and worked with to understand the processes they employ as well as their impressions of the activities and goals in development. This has been both a formal and informal process, and has generated both qualitative and quantitative results for consideration in the overall structure of the project and inclusion in the reporting packages. They have responded to questionnaires about the use of technology in their schools and home countries, have opined on the platform and layout of the toolbox design, and have helped crystalize issues that demand attention in the transition phase. Additionally, we have involved several technology and gaming related companies in contextualizing their understanding of the needs of games meant to teach. They have been important for helping the whole team imagine concepts and strategies.

The next phase is to enter final production of the animated assets, and build story worlds with loosely tied narrative guideposts that allow users to create their own story out of the world’s cast of characters and happenings. Students should be able to use the platform as a game based learning tool that is primarily interested in having them “fill in the gaps” and link disparate events through creative, self-reflective storytelling.

Contact Us

Have a question? We love that – get in touch with the Alt-Er team by dropping an mail to !


Click on sections to read more or download short PDF / full research PDF.

Resilience through socio-emotional development

  • Social interaction is crucial in any child`s development and children should be seen as inherently engaged in the social world from birth
  • Social engagement prompts development of skills in independently carrying out and organizing activities in their culture
  • Adult mediation is a way for children to be equipped with appropriate tools to focus on the learning outcomes in the creative processes they undergo in different contexts, giving them the necessary foundation for expressing themselves
  • ICT usage empowers children by granting them a voice they may have never had before and opens new ways of designing dynamic methods which can help to put children in touch with ideas and concepts formerly beyond their reach
  • Storytelling is recognized as a critical aspect of human thought and development, it positively affects social, emotional and lingual development and has a heavy influence of identity formation
  • Children should be provided with a different tools to express their ideas and emotions in a safe environment, ideally in a self-directed manner

Artifacts as prompts for dialogue

  • Both surface level and symbolic levels of meaning can be explored through dialogue based on depictions
  • Artifacts are reflective of the real world with which young people in the transition period are still coming to terms with and building their understandings of the world around them
  • Narrative creation fosters imagination development, creating an imaginative space to play and ponder which enables thinking about the world, people and relationships
  • Encouraging imaginative thinking and providing tools necessary for children to do so is highly beneficial for individual development and the ability for complex problem solving

Developing shared dialogues

  • Adults understanding of children`s needs and priorities is linked to the attention paid to the communication style of the child - attentive adults are more likely to engage in dialogue, and dialogue in turn fosters a better understanding of a child`s learning needs
  • A teacher must be aware of both child`s and his/hers own perspectives, possible only through dialogue with that student
  • Both children and the teacher must be involved/engaged in the process and present
  • The goals of the teacher and a sensitivity to the child`s perspective have to work simultaneously

Creative and narrative explorations

  • Creativity stands as one of the central competences most valued in 21st century employees – as such, it is deeply important to accommodate this increasing demand for creative minds through education, starting with training programs for teachers
  • Teaching creatively and using imaginative approaches to make learning more interesting and effective provides opportunities for children to express their own styles and personalities
  • Teaching for creativity aims to foster creative thinking and behavior among children through different teaching methods and strategies
  • Storytelling supports development of creativity, risk taking, and coping with uncertainty
  • Early narrative competences are linked to and predictive of reading comprehension in later primary school years and help to create a secure foundation for future literacy and long term success in schooling

Continuity across contexts

  • Teachers act as supporters, coachers, facilitators and models of creativity for children
  • The family is perceived as a micro social group within a macro social context - a collection of individuals with shared history who interact within ever changing social contexts across increasing time and space
  • Parents and teachers working in the same mediated space benefit retention and engagement
  • Supporting and creating links between young children and their caregivers both at home and in school is a vital part of successful school transitions
  • There exists a marked importance for collaboration and communication between kindergarten and preschool to ensure smooth and successful transition for childrens

School family communications

  • Communication between different institutions and the direct involvement of families, as well as teaching children to work in different social - cultural settings have been shown to smooth transitions for children
  • Guided participation takes into account not only the active engagement of children, but also the role of peers and caregivers between whom communication and has a significant role in children`s transition between institutions are critical to ease transitions
  • Using ICT with support of teachers and parents, can result in a more positive attitudes towards learning
  • Parents, teachers and children working in collaborative way together leads to improved academic performance

In Collaboration with

View old ALT-ER website