Teaching code in Kindergarten: Whoa… is this actually happening? Shouldn’t Kindergarten be focused on the alphabet, number recognition, and learning to read? Naturally, yes, but Kindergarten is also a great age to introduce some fundamental programming concepts!
These programming concepts are so practical, they echo many areas of math that are already being used to develop problem-solving skills and logical thinking. For example, concepts such as patterning, sorting by size or numerical order, puzzles, color by number, etc.
I am not a math person. I’m not “mathy” at all! However, I love and appreciate what math looks like in Kindergarten: it doesn’t really “look” like math! Math, in this stage, is about the approach, not the specifics (which, of course, you can build on over time).
Computer programming is the same. Children are learning to approach code through games and mazes and even building their own programs to run with simple tools. Elle, who is five now, sits down with her Dad to “play games” on the iPad. In these games, she is programming something, like a robot, to move through a maze or some sort of course. I highly recommend looking into Hour of Code, Scratch, and Kodable if you are interested in trying code games with your children or class.
Now, you might be thinking that all of this is nifty, but still wondering, is it necessary? Let’s put into perspective the demand for software, apps, and websites. People require these things and someone has to build it for them. Right now, there are more Software Engineering jobs than there are Software Engineers. Technology won’t stop, and at some point, it will become necessary for people to know how to do these things themselves, outside of a programming career path.
For my family, I want to incorporate technology into our homeschool education, but I also want to maintain a healthy balance. I have read many articles about the decline of fine motor skills and restlessness in children and do feel that a five year old benefits most from hands-on activities that they can explore and manipulate. With that in mind, I decided to create a programming series with printable activities that will teach some very basic code concepts. This series is a wonderful supplement to the websites I mentioned earlier, but does not require a computer or tablet.
The series is called C-Quince: Kids in Code and was designed for Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Learn about directions, commands, IF/THEN statements, algorithms, and even bugs. Fill in code, build mazes, debug a program, and act out a functioning algorithm. Use flash cards and coloring pages to reinforce along the way.
Also, check out this FREE online tool for creating your own C-Quince code projects! Our demo is now live and you can move C-Quince or Bug around. Additional features are coming soon!
What are your thoughts about teaching code in Kindergarten? What resources have you used and what do your kids love about them? Share in the comments!