Getting involved in your kids’ education today is a must. The days where kids went to school and parents just took a quick look at their homework are over. Today, parents want to be more present. We say: “What are my children learning today and why? How will this subject help them in their development?” These questions are completely legitimate and necessary.
As parents, we are concerned about, well, everything. In the education field, we want our kids to keep motivated throughout their time in school while developing their critical-thinking and social skills. Among all the challenges they have to face during the school years, we want them to be well-prepared for their adulthood.
It’s tough to know how the world will be when kids complete their formal school years. But one thing we know for sure today is that not only the U.S., but a significant number of other countries require a technology-trained workforce. This, combined with the fact that kids born in Generation Alpha are digital natives at birth and have almost a natural connection with digital applications, is a good reason to start wondering if the school your kid is in is prioritizing coding skills.
You might think this skill is too advanced for your younger kid, but truth be told, learning programming empowers kids. Through experimentation, kids can master sequence skills, counting, problem-solving and boost their creativity by imagining and creating games, websites, 3D printing or even control robots. When children are well-guided, they are perfectly capable of learning how to code. And, the best part is that teaching platforms for schools and families are available.
Here are seven reasons why you should demand coding in your children’s schools:
- Boost academic motivation: One common challenge children face during school is approaching and succeeding in mathematical and science subjects. Coding is built from these contents, but the fun part is that kids approach them through experiments that result in products they actually like: games and apps. If coding is taught from an early age, the approach to science and math changes completely; they find out that they can do a lot of fun and useful things, thanks to this knowledge.
- Develop problem-solving skills: Steve Jobs used to say that everyone in the U.S. should learn to program a computer because it teaches you to think. And it does. You might think coding only develops hard skills, like math, but it enhances soft skills, too. Learning to code means that, yes, you have to write the code – a hard skill – but first, you need to know your goal and the best path to arrive there. The path you take can work or not, so children need to face problems and come up with other solutions, like life itself.
- Learn teamwork, collaboration and mutual assistance: By coding, kids learn how to fix problems and come up with solutions with others. They learn to ask for help and help others, and in the end, they understand that working together means a better game, app, website or robot.
- Establish critical thinking: Programming boosts critical-thinking skills because it uses the same process. When coding, you need to conceptualize, analyze and evaluate information to generate an action. Coders do this all the time, and kids can apply critical thinking when programming or exposed to any sort of information.
- Improve self-esteem and sense of competence: Imagine you are your kid’s age and that you are able to understand how to program a game that you absolutely love, such as Minecraft. Then, imagine you can create an app where you can write all your thoughts and save them just for you, like a virtual diary. Coding helps kids create products that make them proud, which helps them feel they can accomplish their goals.
- Enhance reasoning, organization and planning skills: Like any project that aims for a goal, coding helps kids to make a plan, organize tasks and follow that route they created. Even if they have to change the strategy in the middle of the project, kids learn to adjust the plan and continue toward their goal.
- Open future educational and professional opportunities: Remember when learning a second language was an extracurricular activity? Well, even today, knowing another language is an important asset in professional life. Being able to code is like a superpower that companies and top universities already are already favoring. It just makes a difference. A difference that actually the whole world’s workforce needs.
Yasser Jilani is COO and co-founder of Code With Us, a fast-growing edtech organization that develops customized teaching content for individuals, educators and corporation. Avesta Sabetian is a budget guru, business manager, teacher and co-founder at Code With Us. Based out of Silicon Valley, Code With Us is one of the largest U.S.-based edtech schools, with more than 6,000 current students from all over the world and more than doubling its student base and revenue year to year.