Sania was reading the newspaper when her phone rang. Sania’s sister Maya was planning to enroll her child in some coding classes. The classes were offering a discount in their fees if they referred somebody else. Maya was calling to ask if Sania was interested in sending her son along. Sania did not know if her son was ready to take this on….
In recent times, coding has taken a lot of precedence. Various institutes have started coding classes focusing on younger children. Coding, also called computer programming, is how we communicate with a machine. Code tells a computer what actions to take, so writing code is like creating a set of instructions. Programming is like magic spells. With the right words, you can create all kinds of wonders. We see the effects of coding in our daily lives, like the traffic lights changing at set intervals or the coffee machine pouring out cappuccino or latte as per your request. Even the rovers landing on Mars are controlled by coding.
Computers and technology are a part of our future and hence coding is gaining traction. People are constantly creating new solutions to make up for the gap in their needs and programming is the magic tool that helps do so.
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Experts believe that children should be introduced to coding as early as possible. However, since all children develop various skills at different rates and with different learning styles, the best place to start is by introducing various logical games that simulate the skill of coding. Children can then move on to more demanding exercises.
Other aspects of cognition, such as critical thinking and creativity are also important and should be taught and practiced before introducing children to coding. Problem solving is another important skill that children should learn before they try their hand at coding.
Here are 5 basic skills that will help children get better at coding:
Strong foundation in Mathematics
Math is solving arithmetic problems based on a set of rules or principles. Coding is the same but in a more practical way. A strong foundation in math is essential for coding because it is a backbone that runs through every algorithm, sequence, and software mockup that programmers write every day. Children need to start with applying Math concepts learned in school in various formats, themes and scenarios. Once they get comfortable, they can progress to coding comfortably!
Proper language skills
Making good use of a computer language can be compared to being a skilled writer. An effective writer must know how to use grammar and construct sentences appropriately. There’s more to writing than just knowing all the fancy words in the dictionary, and that’s how it works for developers, too!
A problem-solving approach
As a coder, most part of your child’s time will be spent on identifying problems, spotting, and fixing bugs. For this your kid needs to be able to think for themselves. You also need to ‘think new’ when faced with a new challenge or changing consumer preferences. A problem-solving approach is essential in creating incredible solutions to issues that arise throughout software development.
Thinking abilities with out-of-the-box innovation
Coding requires children to think out of the box. Children should be able to visualize well-defined steps, look out for similarities and differences. For coding efficiently, their thought process should function in a refined way. For example, while developing an avatar for a game, the coder must think logically about what the avatar in the game will do depending on what the player decides. If the player presses the space bar, the avatar will jump or if the player presses a number the avatar will run faster etc. In order to do this, they need to apply their minds and run a range of scenarios – this is difficult without adequate practice!
Perseverant attitude to overcome obstacles
Coding requires a child’s critical thinking skills. Writing a program comes with many obstacles like bugs and other unexpected errors. Every time your child faces a problem, they have to patiently analyze the problem and think of all possible solutions. This requires them to think of solutions that haven’t been used before. In order to comprehend these solutions, they need exposure to a range of puzzles, equations and simulations.
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Our world is becoming increasingly complex, especially with modern technology taking a part in our lives like never before. Coding is here to stay. If your child has ever tried coding, they either love it or hate it, but a lot of that sentiment about code learning comes from the basic skills they learn. When skills like critical thinking, problem solving and fundamental math are in place; coding will seem like a walk in the park!
“Everyone in this country should learn how to program because it teaches you how to think”
– Steve Jobs.