In a world of tablets and devices, with the curriculum in schools being moved to all online platforms and worries about social media influences on young children, many parents find it hard to balance “screen-time” and “screen-free time.” The discussions about screen time can cause judgment between friends and a desire to rationalize every decision around this hot topic.
Any fly on the wall near a group of parents discussing screens will hear countless stances:
- “We trust our children to limit their screen time independently.”
- “Our house allows screen on weekends.”
- “Homework is acceptable, but playing games with friends is not.”
- “My child is too young to code.”
- “My child is too old for block-based coding.”
And the varying views continue.
And the current push for coding and computer programming integration in schools causes some concerns with some parents, while others are ecstatic. Whatever your take is on these subjects, one thing is the same for every family: you must find the right balance that fits your needs. As an online educational leader at Zinkerz, we balance screen-based learning and assignments that can be done with “old school” paper and pencil. Our coding programs are leading the way for students to explore and learn the language of the future: coding.
In this world of disagreement and confusion, as we navigate this technologically driven future for our children, there is something that we can all agree on: technology is here to stay.
With that follows another fact: Coding is an essential and integral part of our future.
The benefits of coding are endless. It increases problem-solving skills, develops logic, teaches children a new language, and much more. Many parents are finding time to integrate coding into their children’s lives. While the benefits of coding and the need to find a balance between online and offline learning are undisputed, the right approach is still a loaded topic. Every family needs to decide on the right balance for them… and this may change. So the next question is: how do I safely and effectively introduce coding? How to Introduce Coding to Kids.
Many articles give steps to integrate coding into children’s routes. A recent article encouraged parents not to let their enthusiasm interfere with coding. At Zinkerz, we feel the passion and enthusiasm of parents, educators, and friends opens up possibilities and creates dreamers and doers. As an industry leader in online education, we have several suggestions and offerings to help expose your child to coding.
Figure out what level your child is at.
Maybe they have done coding at school or have some background in block programming? This is great! Block programming (creating logical sequences for coding while not worrying about the actual syntax) helps build the foundational coding logic. These programs help build confidence in coding and are helpful at any level.
Are they ready to use natural programming languages? Here, they focus on the intricate details of the language. They troubleshoot, debug, and figure out how to identify and solve problems.
No matter their age or level, getting started is essential. At Zinkerz, we offer a variety of courses, ranging from block programming with Scratch to App Development and from ROBLOX coding to AP Computer Science.
Find opportunities that stem from their current interests.
Schools frequently say: “It doesn’t matter if they read a magazine, a book, or a graphic novel, as long as they are reading. Find what interests them, and they will read.” It makes sense. Please don’t give your child a chapter book on a topic they don’t care about. Instead, find a graphic novel that expands on their love of superheroes or detective stories. The same is valid for coding.
Computer programming has come a long way in recent years, and many child-focused opportunities are available. Programming does not have to be just straight coding in Java. The courses at Zinkerz allow students to find the perfect fit for them. Do they want to make a game in Scratch? Can they build their app? Or create their world in ROBLOX through Java-based programming? Maybe they like the challenge and want to move into the Java curriculum. Whatever their interest is, follow it. And their love of coding will stem from that.
Create a schedule or program and make it fun.
Practice makes perfect, right? Wrong—nothing is perfect. But, by setting up a plan or number of hours a week to code, children see their improvement, learn from their success, and develop a desire to do more. Whether it is through a weekly course or self-study, children benefit from consistent practice. We offer Coding for Kids classes for all levels and interests. Our educators work with students individually or in small groups to ensure they stay inspired and engaged.
There are many online and in-person intensive camps for coding to give students an immersive experience. ZinkerzCamp: Coding Journey offers a nine-day course where students create and modify programs and work together in teams. Here, they make lasting friendships while understanding the importance of working together as a team.
Let them explore… safely.
Create a safe environment where they can explore new ideas and try things out independently. Let them create something from nothing, or take an existing program and make changes. Many applications and web-based platforms are safe for children to use and explore.
No matter what your screen time rules are, your child’s current level of coding, or your interest, there is a way to integrate computer programming into your routine. Guide them into what makes sense for you… or let them guide you!
Who knows… the ability to dissect a line of code in Java may soon be as important as being able to read or count.