JumpStart Kindergarten 2.0 features the same multi-subject formula as its predecessor, but with an additional emphasis on phonics and reading preparedness. It also contains all new art and animation, while maintaining the interactive kindergarten-classroom setting. The user scrolls around the classroom and playground, and chooses activities to tackle by clicking on the typical classroom objects that represent them.
Activities are similar to those experienced in a real kindergarten.
Alphabet letters border the room. The class calendar can be manipulated to study
the months and their holidays. Clicking on the classroom clock introduces time concepts
by taking the user through the typical kindergartner's day. Number and letter blocks
can be arranged and rearranged in sequential order, while stacking dolls are arranged
by size. "Bebop", the classroom hamster, plays hide and seek with the user, and
the ever-popular paint table awaits the creative young artist.
In addition to activities,
there are many surprise animations to be discovered in the classroom and its environs.
SuperKids' child reviewers especially enjoyed the Puzzle Game, which features a large array of puzzle possibilities which, when completed, reveal a hidden picture.
JumpStart Kindergarten contains 18 activities and exercises aimed at teaching and strengthening fundamental
skills including beginning letter and sound recognition, counting and early math
concepts, language arts, time concepts and the calendar. It familiarizes the child
with the notion of listening to and following directions, and builds overall ability
and confidence with computer use.
The fresh new graphics and animation make JumpStart Kindergarten more appealing than the original JumpStart Kindergarten program, although much of the content is similar. Familiar kindergarten activities are easily accessed and simple to understand and attempt, yet adequately challenging.
SuperKids child reviewers did become frustrated with one of the activities, the Pattern Blaster, which required hand-eye coordination and quick-thinking skills that were beyond the average ability for the specified age-range.
Ease of Use / Install
JumpStart Kindergarten 2.0 installed easily on SuperKids' test machines running Windows 3.11, and Windows 95.
Best for... / Bottom-Line
Although JumpStart Kindergarten lacks the charisma of some of the others in this category, it is well-developed, easy to use, and educationally sound. Because it does not feature the continuing storyline found in some programs of this type, it works well for the child with a short attention span, who will enjoy sampling the many activities without the need to complete specific sections to achieve the program's ultimate goal.