By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Country Day School
Coding is an increasingly important skill set among children. Read more on the reasons why from the experts at Charlotte Country Day School and check out the numerous fun resources available to keep the conversation going at home.
Three reasons why coding is so important:
1. Relevance and Play: Coding is one of those skill sets that lots of kids automatically see the value in…You can build your own apps? Animate graphics? Design a game? Sold :)! For lots of our little ones, that combination of interest, creativity, choice, and social collaboration immediately grabs their attention; it feels fun and playful.
2. Lots o’ Skills! Embedded in all of that fun play are lots of important (and transferable) skills, such as:
– Logical and sequential thinking
– Problem solving and iterative thinking
– Persistence and grit
3. Speak the language: I was listening to “Science Friday” and the question posed was would you rather have a computer/algorithm screen your resume or a person? It was so eye-opening to hear about the ways algorithms are created. While we tend to think of algorithms as being these objective, unbiased ways of looking at big data; they are actually full of human biases, quirks, and subjectivity. So what does this have to do with kids and coding? Well, as one article put it, “when we acquire language, we don’t just learn how to listen but how to speak…” and that the same should hold true in our digital world. Now that we have computers, we need to not only learn how to “listen” to them but how to “speak” their language (aka: how to program them!). Our children will spend lots of time in digital environments, in which the rules have been written by others. Having a baseline understanding of code can help them navigate this terrain, understand its limitations, and be more thoughtful, critical consumers. “Code-literate kids stop accepting the digital world at face value and begin to engage critically and purposefully with them instead.”
Fun Resources to Try at Home
– Hello Ruby: Hello Ruby is a cool picture book about a little girl on a fantastical adventure. The book includes lessons about pattern recognition, computational thinking, and other concepts important to coding. There are several apps and online games that can help children go deeper!
– Coding Games in Scratch: If your child loves DK books, this is a great book for them. It gives kids a great grounding in Scratch, a free programming language developed at MIT and teaches kids to use the basics of coding to make different games. If your kiddo likes that one, here are a few more in the genre: Coding For Beginners Using Scratch and Coding Projects in Scratch.
– If you have an advanced coder on your hands, they can check out Python, a popular coding language. Check out Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming, which takes some very complex ideas and breaks them down in digestible and visually appealing bites? Bits? Nibbles? (attempting some comp sci language here 🙂
– DK also has some cool workbooks out there: Computer Coding, Coding with Scratch, Coding in Scratch: Games, and Coding in Scratch: Projects. Each one gives kids a collection of projects designed to get them learning and using key coding concepts in a hands on way.
Additional Non-Book Resources
Tynker: Coding for Kids
Scratch Jr or Scratch
Charlotte Country Day Admissions Events
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October 4 (JK-K)
October 11 (JK-4)
November 1 (9-12)
Charlotte Country Day School
1440 Carmel Road
Charlotte, NC 28226