TURN UP THE VOLUME
HOW WE TEACH
We aim to help prepare our children for their future
by giving them the skills they have to master in an increasingly digital world regardless of the professional path they may choose.
Independent logical thinking and autonomous learning are extremely important because they allow a young person to adapt to the challenges they come across.
Coding represents the perfect combination of such fundamental skills while pushing creativity and co-operation to a whole new level.
We focus on teaching these skills to our children in a fun and engaging way ensuring a positive technological experience.
Teaching basic coding concepts without screens
The first lessons introduce your child to the concept of a sequence through fun, interactive games, to lay the foundation for logical challenges.
By using cards with simple actions such as "Jump" , "Smile" , "Right hand up" or "Left leg down", your child will lay out sequences of such actions. Like in coding, these sequences will then be played out, in this case by the children themselves to keep things simple.
Apart from helping them understand the concept of a sequence, this will also teach your child to look for issues (i.e. debugging in coding).
An example would be "Right leg up" and later on in the sequence "Left leg up". The robot would fall, representing problems in the code. Through group discussions, the kids will learn that it is important to logically identify issues before playing out a sequence.
Logical challenges, with and without robots
Once children have understood and applied the basic concepts of sequences and debugging, they are introduced to logical challenges based on those concepts.
We start with very simple challenges that gradually progress to more and more complex ones, where we begin using a child-friendly robot that is programmed with sequences to complete tasks.
These exercises will push your child's logical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as introduce them to new code concepts like planning in advance, code design and repeating a code function.
After a certain amount of practice, your child will be able to understand the different constraints of a challenge and find a solution to solve the problem – on their own!
Introducing computer coding
Coding on Scratch with results in the physical world
Now that your child understands and can apply the basic coding concepts, it is time to introduce Scratch on a computer or Scratch JR on a tablet for the smaller kids (4-6).
Scratch is a block-based, visual programming language developed by MIT University. It was developed for kids and is thus super simple and fun to use. Here's a video that shows how it works.
After some practice your child will be able to create stories, games and animations by themselves.
It is also possible to connect external sensors and devices such as Makey Makey, Arduino or micro:bit, to build applications that interact with the physical world.
The picture below shows a piano project, in which we connected piano keys (play-dough with an external device) with a computer. The computer is programmed (with Scratch) to play a note when a piano key is pressed.
Coding in the real world
Discovering real coding languages and start building
For the curious minds that have exhausted Scratch, the next step is to make the transition from block-based programming languages to source code like Java.
Another application that we use to help the children transition to actual coding is the MIT App Inventor. With this open-source tool, we can connect applications the kids have developed to smartphones and tablets – letting them learn early on to use digital media in a creative way, instead of only consuming it.
MIT App Inventor