When is the right time for kids to begin learning how to program? In How do You Know if Your Kid is Ready to Program we analyzed this in depth, but the answer is simple: early. In a recent article Should Kids Learn to Code in Grade School?, Los Altos School District’s Sheena Vaidyanathan (remember her from this article) explores why and shares the results she is seeing from her students.
You can read the whole article here. I want to share some of my favorite quotes and how they match up to Breakout Mentors’ philosophy.
Learning to program has been relegated to summer camps and through programs that exist because of fundraising.
This is the idea behind why Breakout Mentors was started. We believe that summer camps and brief introductions through the many non-profits are not enough. There are many students that are interested in learning more, and have nowhere to go to achieve this. We want to provide the very best learning experience for those students that enjoy computers and have the most to gain with a long-term focus.
Turns out that special girls-only programs are unnecessary at this stage because the stereotypes may not have yet set in.
This is an important insight. At a young age, boys and girls alike are more willing to try new things. As they reach high school, they have a number of time commitments already, and pay more attention to what is deemed cool. Most Breakout Mentors students start when they are 10 to 12 years old. Furthermore, the 1-on-1 environment is less conductive to peer pressure – this is particularly important for girls in order to avoid learning in a classroom with 90% boys.
Everyone can learn to program just like everyone can learn to swim when they are young and unafraid.
They can do it! Don’t underestimate what your student can accomplish with enthusiasm and consistent effort!