Coding is one of the most discussed and hottest topics in the education sector. With more careers demanding knowledge of IT and computer science, there is a huge demand for coding among parents and students as well. At present, parents want schools to teach coding to children. Did you know that kindergarten coding involves bringing programming literacy to kindergarteners in a fun, interactive, and playful way. Coding in kindergarten allows children to explore and learn the concepts behind programming languages at an early stage in their lives. Kindergarten coding lays the groundwork for children to learn to code later in life.
Research indicates that 90 percent of the parents in the United States want their children to learn computer science since it will be useful when they enter the job market. However, only 40 percent of the schools teach it. Coding skills are not required because all children will enter the tech or coding field. It is a skill that influences every other career in today’s world. With coding in kindergarten, kids develop critical thinking and creativity to solve complex problems. However, most schools do not teach coding until middle school.
What is kindergarten coding?
- Coding is the process of writing instructions in a particular language for developing software, websites, and apps.
- Many of you may be wondering how small kindergarteners can learn to code.
- Kindergarten coding is not about teaching programming languages to kids.
- Coding in kindergarten involves making use of fun and interactive activities to introduce kids to the basic concepts required to code in any programming language.
- Some parents feel that instead of coding, children in kindergarten require other activities.
- However, coding has become an integral part of the curriculum in many schools.
- Introducing kids to the basic elements of programming at a young age helps in the development of vital skills.
- Coding in kindergarten gives children the opportunity to innovate, design, invent, and create an original invention.
How can you teach kindergarten coding to kids?
There are different ways of teaching coding in kindergarten. There are various technologies and tools available to teach programming basics and coding to kids. It all depends on the comfort level of teachers and how interested kids really are.
Here are the different ways in which coding in kindergarten can be done.
- As the name indicates, this style of coding involves giving simple directions to kids, usually in the form of arrows that they have to follow.
- It could involve coding games for kindergarten students where they have to follow the directions given by the arrows to make the rabbit from the starting point reach to the end, where the carrot is kept.
- Directional coding involves using fun activities to teach early learners the direction to move, from left to right and even forward and backward.
- This will prepare kids to write simple algorithms in the future.
- Small kids love playing with blocks, and this is exactly what is used in block coding.
- It involves putting together a series of blocks to provide directions.
- Each block has a real command associated with it.
- In block coding, kids use a drag-and-drop approach.
It involves teaching coding in kindergarten without the use of any technology. It is a great way to begin with kindergarten coding when there is no access to technology.
- Again, this style of coding is non-tech, requires more preparation, and requires kids to work independently.
- It is an ideal choice for coding in kindergarten when there are a limited number of students in the class.
- For example, a start and end card can be placed on a grid. Students can use the arrows to create a path between the two. Teachers can use these throughout the year without having to reprint them. Only the start and end cards can be changed.
- It involves the use of applications to guide students on how to create paths and write code.
- It is an easy and convenient way to introduce coding in kindergarten.
- However, it is dependent on time and access to resources.
Benefits of coding in kindergarten
Kindergarten coding is crucial for pre-readers. It provides a number of benefits to them. The benefits of teaching coding to kindergarteners include:
With coding in kindergarten, kids are encouraged to make mistakes and learn. This strengthens their brain and fosters creativity.
While many students find it difficult to understand math concepts, coding helps them understand how abstract math concepts work in the real-world.
Boosts academic performance
Children who learn to code can plan better and have more organized thoughts. Coding also makes them better with writing skills, thus helping them excel in their academic studies.
Problem solving approach
With coding in kindergarten, children learn to be effective problem solvers from a young age. Children can confidently solve complex problems without worrying about failure.
Learn a new language
Coding is just like learning another language like French, Spanish, etc. Learning to code in kindergarten helps kids understand the world around them better, communicate effectively with others, and strengthen their verbal and written skills.
Elements of programming for kindergarten coding
The elements of programming that support kindergarteners include the following:
- Through repetition, kids can learn new study material by reinforcing it several times.
- In programming, repetition is done through the use of loops.
- The loops allow a certain set of code to be used multiple times.
- A key aspect of teaching coding in kindergarten is that kids need to learn how to code in sequence.
- For this, they need to understand the order of instructions.
- For example, in order to print the word “good morning” on the screen, they must know that they need to type “good morning” and then press the Enter key.
- Sequencing cards that have a picture on one side and a sentence on the other can also be used to teach sequencing to kids. The sentence on the cards will help determine the order of the pictures.
Problem solving and counting
For kids to learn to code, they need to understand basic math concepts and counting. For example, to ensure correct code formatting, they need to count how many spaces are present in a line of code.
Also, they should be able to solve basic math problems to be able to write code that performs a specific function.
Visual clues are important for kids who are learning coding. In programming languages, the visual clues come in the form of variable names and comments. The former makes it easy for kids to follow the program flow by providing labels for different pieces of information. On the other hand, comments help to explain what a piece of code will do.
Coding is an important 21st century skill and one for the future as well. Coding in kindergarten can be a fun skill to teach. Various coding games for kindergarten students may be used to make learning fun and interesting. Creating something new with coding allows kids to use their imagination, creativity, and abilities at the same time. Coding exposes children to worldwide technologies and allows them to participate in innovation. Kindergarten coding can serve as an effective way to open new doors of creativity, passion, and career paths moving ahead into the future.