COSTA MESA — College Park Elementary School preschoolers took turns this week at a pint-sized computer station acquainting themselves with a computer game they will play during the next six years.
Preschooler Nathaniel Mejia, 4, was busy completing a picture puzzle of a penguin by fitting pop-up pieces of the bird into its outline on the computer screen.
Next to him, Fernando Palacious, 5, had completed the puzzle and was practicing matching pictures of the penguin taken from different angles.
"You already passed a level?" Nathaniel asked his friend in surprise.
College Park and Davis Magnet School are the first in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to start using the self-paced math computer program developed by the nonprofit MIND Research Institute in their preschool classes.
The program, known as "JiJi," is already being used in K-5 classes to reinforce math lessons.
"This is a huge bonus for our preschoolers," said College Park Principal Julie McCormick. "They are just going to be all the more ready for kindergarten."