With England being the first country to implement a curriculum teaching kids how to code from a young age of 5 to 14 years old, most parents have been daunted by the change. But the intimidation mostly comes from what the parents don’t know or why the alteration of the curriculum altogether.
Clearing the Fog
According to a survey involving 1,020 parents of children ages 5-18 years old, 60 percent of them were unsure of the changes that were made. Tech firms O2 and Ocado have had similar results.
The new curriculum, which teaches coding and other up-to-date knowledge regarding today’s “computing”, has replaced the old one that focuses on areas becoming obsolete.
The change was inevitable as ministers and various tech companies were criticizing the old curriculum. Michael Gove, England’s former education secretary, describes the alteration as imperative as the new system help develop a child’s understanding of how computers work and how they can make it work for them rather than the old one that delves on concepts that are rapidly becoming antiquated.
Aside from the child developing skills in computing early in life, which opens him up from potential interest that can impact his employment in the future, experts believed that it goes far beyond it.
The argument is that by teaching a child how to code and breaking them down to understand how they work, you are honing their skill in logic. Think of it as a Lego construct being disassembled by a child piece by piece. The dismantling process gives them an early idea on how to tackle a problem by looking at it at a rudimentary level.
Computing is similar. You have a computer and you want it to solve a problem for you. So you develop an algorithm and a set of instructions, building it from the ground up and ensuring that the foundation is sound.
This skill doesn’t only revolve around how computers work but different problems in general; a skill that is highly needed when someone is working with a team on a certain project.
Supporting your child
Some of the intimidation that parents feel comes from their lack of adept understanding of coding and computing altogether. “What if my child asked me something that they don’t quite grasp, what am I to answer them?” some might voice.
You don’t have to learn how to code in order to support your child. Experts suggest that parents showing interest as to what their child is learning is enough encouragement that they can provide.
Also, rather than answering questions, you should throw on yourself that focuses on the subject’s primary level. Bill Mitchell, director of education at BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT – said that it would bring delight to the child explaining something that their parents have little knowledge about.
Of course parents can still go the extra mile by familiarizing with the subject, learning along with their child the concepts behind the entire curriculum. Resources like Tynker and Hopscotch applications is a good way to start, as well as visiting sites like CodeAcademy would greatly help in shedding light on the matter.
But these aren’t necessary. The important thing is that you be there with your child, showing interest with what they’re learning in school, and nurturing curiosity along the way.