Currently there is a huge demand for schools to be teaching coding. Programming literacy is an incredibly important skill and we are bringing that skill to our kindergarteners in a fun and playful way.

According to research, 90 percent of parents in the U.S. want their children to learn computer science—it will be crucial for many jobs in the near future—but only 40 percent of schools teach it. Experts argue that parents of every student in every school at every level should demand that all students be taught how to code. This skill is needed not because they will all go into it as a career—that isn’t realistic—but because it impacts every career in the 21st-century world.

From a development perspective, the type of thinking that goes into learning to code is very sophisticated. It’s complex, multifaceted, and requires children to think deeply, not just recite back rote information. It’s the kind of thinking we want our kids to be doing to develop their brains. Our kindergarteners WILL NOT be in front of screens for hours at a time so that they can learn to code. The program takes 20 minutes a day to learn. We recognize and value that the time children spend in play is far more valuable any set of skills we could ever teach them. However, allowing children to explore the concepts behind programming languages early in life sets the stage for success in learning to code in later years.

The programs The Gratitude Garden will use to introduce coding to kids are iPad apps, they include Kodable, Tynker, and The Foos.

We are the ONLY school in San Clemente with coding programs for kindergarten, monthly field trips to STEM related points of interest, and the opportunity to design, invent, and produce an original child-lead invention with a child-written patent. We are leading the way!

Coding programs are specifically designed to teach programming skills to children. One highlight of Kodable is the way that it teaches sequential processing. The child directs an adorable little fur ball through a track using step by step graphic directions. The track becomes more and more complex as the child completes each level. They must complete lower levels to unlock the harder levels. They also can unlock new cute little fur balls, which kids find particularly motivating.

For more information on teaching kids to code, visit the Hour of Code website and Girls Who Code.

The following resources will assist you in helping your child achieve success in the 21st century language of coding:

• Kodable started as an app targeted to students as young as kindergarten age, but it’s now a complete curriculum. The first 30 levels are free, more than enough for an hour of code. Kodable is recommended for ages 5 and up, but there are stories of kids even younger using the app with great success. Students don’t need to know how to read in order to program using this game.
• ScratchJr is a version of Scratch intended for ages 5–7 and available as a free iPad or Android app.
• A favorite of some programmers, LightbotJr targets children ages 4–8.
• Robot Turtles is a board game that teaches children the basics of programming without having to use any technology.
• Dash and Dot are two endearing little robots that can be used with ages 5 and up. These robots have apps that can be used to program them, for which children ages 8 and up can use Blockly, the visual programming language created by Google. Older students can use Objective C or Java to program the bots.

We have hired our new kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Amy Stoicevich. You can meet her at our Kindergarten Information Session on Friday June 30th at 11:30, following the Moving Up Celebration. We have three spots left in this class, be sure to sign up before it is maxed at 12 students.