How to Teach Young Children to Code
Coding has gained the stigma for being a “mature” technical skill. In reality, much like reading and writing, it’s a skill that should be taught during elementary education. As intimidating as coding may seem, the cognitive and critical thinking skills gained from computer literacy are highly beneficial.
Learning how to code as early as kindergarten or preschool increases the chances of tackling a number of other skills in varied fields. In 2017, computers and technology are essential to understand regardless of your career field or passion. Therefore, doing your part to create a tech-savvy child is more important than you may have thought.
How to Start
Many experts believe that the simplicity of “drag and drop” coding is the best place to begin your child’s coding education. Visual block-based coding is the best way to introduce children to the complexities of computer literacy. They can easily drag blocks of coded language and drop them in their corresponding locations on the computer screen. There are several programs and apps that promote this early education coding technique. Sit with your child, and ask them questions. Ask their end goal in the coding lesson, and how they plan to achieve it.
Maybe taking a step away from the computer screen is what works best for your child. LEGO and other brands offer activities that teach coding and technology using physical objects. This allows different learning styles the opportunity to grasp the concept of coding without being forced to stare into a computer screen. Whether they are playing with robots or building blocks, coding is a concept with varied factors that can be addressed through several means.
At a young age, expression and inclusivity are two of the most important things to keep in mind. Children need an outlet for creativity, while also honing in on their skills in technology. Just like building a castle with blocks, coding can be taught as a creation – or virtual building blocks. Leaving coding to the imagination is the best way to increase creativity. Rather than providing children with step-by-step instructions, provide an end goal and allow them to create their own path to reach it.
Coding seems like an extra-curricular, however with the takeover of technology more than imminent, it’s swiftly become a necessity.