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Learning to Code Before They Can Read?!? The Many Benefits of Teaching Coding to Young Children

Did you know that 71% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing but only 8% of STEM graduates are in the Computer Science field? Or that 90% of parents want their children to study computer science but only 40% of schools teach computer programming.

Computer Science is about much more than teaching technology. It incorporates logic, problem solving, and creativity in an engaging way for children of all ages. As a research-based educational institution, Indian Creek School faculty have studied the many benefits of teaching coding skills to students beginning at a young age, and as a result, coding classes are incorporated into the curriculum beginning in the Pre-Kindergarten 3 program.

The non-cognitive skills that children develop through coding lessons are even more beneficial to young learners than the technology skills they acquire. As Julie Randles mentions in her article published by ISTE, “Use Coding to Engage Students in Reading, Writing, Lessons,” “Coding allows students to be creative without being wrong. If something doesn’t work, students must figure out why and determine how to fix it. Coding is the process of continually making mistakes, learning from them and correcting them. Coding requires creativity and critical thinking – future-ready skills, that, along with collaboration and communication, are essential. Best of all, coding allows students to create content, rather than simply consume it – and that’s a must-have skill for functioning in today’s tech-driven world.”

Last week, Indian Creek School celebrated Computer Science Education week celebration the week by providing each class (Pre-K3 through grade 6) with extra coding time. Each class participated in a combination of Hour of Code lessons in STEM lab and then took part in a variety of hands-on coding activities. This celebration supplemented Indian Creek Lower School’s regular computer science program, which incorporates coding lessons into the regular curriculum.

At the end of Computer Science Education week, Indian Creek was honored to learn that the school was awarded a $3,940 2017 Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Kickstarter Grant to support programming resources for young, pre-literate learners aged 3 to 7, specifically, the Cubetto and Ozobot technology. Indian Creek first grade teacher Ms. Sarah Allen is excited about the opportunities that these resources will open for our students, sharing that “This gift will allow our youngest learners to learn code before they learn to read!” The excitement of this gift - and the benefits that the coding resources will provide - was tangible in our youngest students – and their teachers!
Indian Creek school is a co-educational, college preparatory independent school, located in Crownsville, Maryland.  Students in Pre-K3 through grade 12 receive a vibrant educational experience based on excellent academics steeped in strong student-teacher connections.