Modern parents are bombarded with conflicting facts and advice on a daily basis. You should teach your child 3 foreign languages. Don’t teach your child a foreign language because their native vocabulary will suffer. Make sure you direct your child towards physical skills and development; focus on cognitive development. These are just some of the examples that appear in the media and parenting content all the time.
Coding is the same. Some parents believe that you shouldn’t over-stimulate your child with tasks that are too challenging for their age. Others show the basics of coding to their kids at a very early age. In this article, we will try to answer which approach is better.
The earlier, the better
Generally, experts agree that children should be taught how to code at the earliest age possible. All children develop at different rates and in different ways. Still, you can generally start teaching basic exercises to children from the age of 5 or 6. You can do this by introducing various logical games that simulate the skill of coding. After a year or so, you can move on to more demanding exercises.
Several studies have shown that children who code from the beginning of their elementary schooling achieve better academic performance throughout their education. A higher percentage of children who start coding early gets into the STEM area, both in college and in later career.
Another way of thinking
Parents usually like the idea of preparing their kids for success and giving them the best possible chances of getting into great universities. This is a good motive, but what’s actually even more useful and beneficial for kids who code is that they will learn how to think logically.
Other aspects of thinking, such as creativity and critical thinking skills, should not be neglected. They should be taught and practiced as well. However, coding provides learners with the incredible skill of problem-solving. This is a very powerful skill – not only professionally and academically, but throughout everyday life. A child who codes learns how to approach every issue with a solution-oriented mindset.
Often, coding is talked about as something you should pivot towards if you want to be a more competitive candidate for higher education or jobs. However, the most important social group that should focus on coding are actually children.
The core principle of coding is tapping into your problem-solving mindset. To do that, you need a disciplined and dedicated approach to work. Perhaps the most important aspect of coding from a children’s perspective is learning the core skills of logic and reasoning.
Fixing bugs is another important aspect of coding. When you start a program and see that the result is not what you were expecting, you need to continue researching, exploring, and finding out why that happened. Going through the program once again, behind the scenes, step by step, will enable kids to trace back the logic behind it. When you do that, you can deduce where the mistake happened.
Learning how stuff works behind the scenes
Once children find the solutions for their program bugs, this is followed by another challenge. The next step is to learn how to avoid that from happening in the future.
Today, kids are growing up with technology as a crucial part of their life. From the moment they wake up to the moment they go the sleep, they are deeply submerged in the technological realm. Many parents fear these habits because of tech’s connection to addiction and behavior changes, but you can never eliminate the technological surroundings of today’s world.
However, it’s one thing to know how to use a mobile phone or a tablet. Knowing how exactly they work and which technological principles they are powered on is a whole other game. Coding, therefore, helps children realize how stuff works “behind the scenes.” By using coding-related software, kids will slowly learn what powers an application, website, or other types of programs. With these knowledge bits, they will gradually fit them into a bigger picture and learn how to recognize the poor design, a faulty app, and much more. As a result, they will perceive the world around them in a completely different way. They will understand why something doesn´t work in a way that it should, and they will learn what´s happening beneath the surface of everyday tech activities.
Coding as an expression of creativity
All humans need some kind of a creative outlet after a day of hard work (or in the child`s case, after a day in school). Everyone needs the opportunity to work on something that makes them feel great. Namely, children who don`t usually enjoy other types of artistic expression (drawing, writing, or music) can reach incredible expressive capabilities in coding.
Even as total beginners, they can start creating their own games, websites, apps. For children, as well as teens and adults, it’s very important to feel that they have the power of creation. This, in turn, will help them build self-confidence around their skills and abilities.
Introducing children to coding in their early elementary years is the best age for a child to start coding. This way, they will use the perfect cognitive moment to sow seeds for more complex knowledge later. Many great coders started learning around the age of 5 or 6.
If children are taught to think logically, and they adopt a problem-solving mindset, they will understand complex concepts from coding later in life. Even if they decide to completely move away from coding later in life, the ability to understand basic technological concepts will be invaluable in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dorian Martin is a writer, editor, and education advisor. He works with the best writing services, helping students around the world reach their full potential. Dorian is especially interested in cognitive science and education. He has published articles in scientific journals about children’s cognitive development and strategies for effective language learning.