There are things that you can never imagine until you actually see them happen right in front of your eyes. The other day, my son came back from his play school franchise and I was surprised to see that he was wearing a sash of “Little Mr. Bill Gates”, upon asking him more about his little achievement he told me proudly, mom there was a coding competition and I won the title of “Little Mr. Bill Gates”. A coding competition for preschoolers! I didn’t even realize where he had heard about ‘Coding’ in the first place. In the parent-teacher interaction that followed this incident, I asked his preschool teacher about the coding competition.
My visit to the preschool
I was at my son’s preschool, waiting for my son’s preschool teacher to come and I saw that there were various posters about coding, binary numbers and some event poster called “Code – The Kids’ Way.” I asked his teacher is this for real, can kids as young as 3-5 years understand and comprehend the concept of computer programming, and is there a need to teach them these advanced skills at such a young age? She explained that there are various benefits of coding for children and why the best preschools and best play schools are doing it.
As intrigued as I was, I still had my doubts about the relevance of this preschool development program. However, my son’s teacher cleared all my doubts, her point of view seemed quite rational. We live in a digital age, at our time someone who could code studied in college and these days our kids are born with all sorts of gadgets and devices in their laps. So, for all those traditional parents who get scared of the ‘IT-world,’ my advice is, don’t be scared! Here’s what parents like you and I need to know about coding for toddlers in preschools.
Coding, coding, and coding
We live in an age where little learners don’t carry a plethora of books in their backpack anymore; rather they’re seen carrying tablets or iPads to preschools. Many preschoolers use mobile devices to learn rudimentary skills. From phonics to vocabulary, from coding to basic math, there is an app for everything.
Advantages of coding for preschoolers:
So, why should your preschooler learn to code? Let’s find out.
Creativity and thinking fluidity – Children are more open and creative because they have fluid minds that allow them to think “out of the box.” This is why coding inspires them to grow. Many early educators introduce coding as a way to tell a story. There is a-beginning, a-middle and an-ending to a story like there is to any program. The coding skills impart knowledge that increases the written and oral communication skills of young learners.
Imaginative literacy – Undeniably computers have become an integral part of our lives, in such a scenario it has become imperative to teach our young learners to code as much as it is vital to teach them to read. Being a software engineer myself, for me, coding is not just computer science it is a creative endeavor. I really wish that I had gotten an early start, and seeing that my child can learn this skill at such an early age, gives me immense relief.
Future prospects – There is a huge misconception in today’s world; many parents think that coding or programming is only for those who want a career in a computer related field. The current generation demands that your children should be well-read in technology. The job market is becoming more and more competitive day by day. Many jobs today require the basic IT skills, and if your child chooses a career in the IT field, then this would be a strong foundation for their bright future in creating games, websites, or videos in coming years.
Coding resources – As I was learning about the various advantages of “Code – The Kids’ Way” preschool development program and how my son could benefit from it. I had to contribute as well; I was keen on finding out how I could help my son. There are many online websites, apps, and games that are designed to help your child learn how to code without actually coding. Here are a few resources that many of the early childhood education experts recommend:
Coding apps for your child
There are several apps that you can obtain to teach your child early coding skills. These apps were developed by understanding the working of a child’s brain and the way they think.
- Hopscotch – It’s quite hard for teachers to teach computer programming to children when they don’t get it themselves. However, when you have an app like Hopscotch you can easily teach early learners how to use visual blocks that have animations and fun messages. This will expose them to ideas that are commonly used in more sophisticated programming languages. This is a foundation for their development in programming.
- Move the Turtle – Move the Turtle is an innovative game that lets children learn the programming procedures by simply moving the turtle. Each new level teaches children a new command like directing the turtle to reach a star, draw a line, make a sound, etc. This fun game is great for developing basic coding skills as each new level also increases in difficulty.
- Lightbot Jr 4+ coding puzzles – Who doesn’t love puzzles, right? Kids love puzzles, and we often see them learning a lot through puzzles. Puzzles challenge the competitive spirit of a child and make them attempt something repeatedly with more effort each time. This app has a little robot that moves with drag-and-drop programming icons. Once the player puts them all in the row, then the robot moves lighting up each tile. This helps them understand the basics of coding.
- Daisy the Dinosaur – The makers of HopScotch also made Daisy the Dinosaur. This is an interesting app that lets children grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and lots more by interacting with Daisy. This app was designed to pique interest in children by teaching them the basics of coding with a fun animated character.
Admit it; you want your child to code. Well, after knowing so much about the “Code – The Kids’ Way” preschool development program, even I’m trying to find out how I can help more mothers realize the need for encouraging their children to code. Coding not only opens your child’s creativity but it also boosts many other skills that contribute to their overall development.