Why We Should Teach Children to Code
We are living in a digital age. Mobile phones, Tablets and devices are now a natural part of children's lives. Even iconic toys like Lego have moved on into digital versions and spawned the next generation of “digital” creative thinking games for children, such as Minecraft.
So the next evolution has to be, teaching children to code…
If you think about it broadly, Programming is a series of languages, written and read across the globe. Just like English, French, Spanish & Mandarin, Programming languages include PHP, Java, Python, Ruby & C++.
Infact, it could be argued that Programming languages are the most widely used on earth today.
As children, most of us were taught some form of language during our school years (other than our mother tongue), and benefited from the development that comes from learning a new language; whether we remember any of it as adults is another question to be asked…
As today's children and children of the future become more immersed in a digital world, learning the “new” languages that are shaping that future becomes a necessity.
We live in a world where most jobs require the use of software or programming to some degree; code, in its various forms, will become the new worldwide language.
The late Steve Jobs once famously said:
"I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think."
If we look more closely at the world around us, we can see that children in today's society are already immersed in a digital world. Children of just 3 years old use iPads as if they were born with them. By 10, they are creating monuments and environments on Minecraft. By the time they hit their teens, they are running YouTube channels with millions of subscribers.
What are the benefits for children learning code?
Code stimulates creativity
Think of it like this. Children possess an unlimited imagination. Code is a tool with infinite potential. When these two meet, it creates a whirlwind of creativity. Code can help children realise everything they are thinking about.
If we use Minecraft as an example. A child will sit for hours carefully and skillfully laying foundations, creating a blueprint and brick by brick, “voila” a Castle, complete with decorated bedrooms, wiring, cables and pipes…
Architect of the future?
Code enforces problem solving
Code is fantastic for testing. Infact it is one of the only practices where testing can occur immediately. Through this, children develop the skill to look at a particular problem holistically, and problem solve from different points of view.
It encourages children to make mistakes, find a solution and learn in a constant evolution of learning and skill development.
Code helps develop critical thinking
Code encourages critical thinking by allowing problems to be analyzed in different situations in order for the dots to be connected and a solution discovered.
These skills are required in almost every facet of life, not just in software development or programming. Nurturing these skills at a young age will help children prosper in an ever evolving marketplace.
Lets not forget, it's great fun
There are literally hundreds, thousands of tools and applications for children to enjoy. And it is great fun. Children learn faster than adults and during their younger years the opportunity to learn the languages of the future, improve their skills and immerse themselves in an enjoyable industry with limitless possibilities, is something all parents should be considering.