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How can I support my child learning to code?

Much like reading, improving your child’s coding and tech skills need to be supported as part of everyday education and learning. The best position to be in is where your child has the motivation and excitement to work on projects independently, but how do we reach this point? In this blog post, we break down this into three tips:

  1. Promote a resilient attitude with a positive response to mistakes
  2. Centre the learning around fun
  3. Provide access to a tutor or local/online classes

Promote a resilient attitude with a positive response to mistakes

Without a healthy dose of resilience, it’s unlikely that any project or task will get done and programming is no different. In fact, you could argue that perseverance is more important than talent or IQ! As Albert Einstein famously said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Supporting your child when they make errors to view those very same errors as a learning process, helps to build their resilience to problems in the future and models how to turn them into an opportunity to improve which will be a constant feature in their learning journey.

Between the process of debugging and garnering determination to finish an exciting project, coding is a great way to practice perseverance and, in doing so, develop resilience. Kids are at a critical age to learn how to bounce back from frustrations and setbacks – giving them coding as a tool to learn perseverance and resilience early will help them with whatever they pursue in the future.

Centre the learning around fun

One of the best things you can do to improve your child’s coding skills is to place fun at the core of their learning. Following an academic curriculum strictly and producing text-based programs such as “Hello World” can turn young people away. We have always found that one of the easiest routes to coding at a young age is in video game development. 

A big win would be to take your child’s existing passions for computer games, stories, film and turn that into a fun learning process. This will make teaching them or them learning to code a much more enjoyable process and they are much more likely to persist in the area (building on the previous point). What’s fantastic about game-based learning is that there are many resources out there promoting this way of learning such as Hour of Code. 

Provide access to a tutor or local/online classes

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, had a software developer called David Newman privately tutoring him whilst he was in middle school. Allowing your child to have frequent one-to-one tutoring with a good quality computer science tutor is an excellent way to learn. An alternative is to seek out courses such as the weekly After School Clubs offered by Fire Tech, they will have access to a subject expert and the benefit of an encouraging environment of their peers.

Other top tips:

  • Be interested! Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning.
  • Don’t be afraid – going through what your child has learned may help you learn about technology yourself.
  • Coding is instructions – what instructions does your child follow in everyday life? (recipes, early morning routine)
  • What is a computer? Talk to your child about examples of technology outside the home that use a computer.

About Fire Tech

Fire Tech’s mission is to give young people the tools and inspiration to become the tech creators, makers, and leaders of the future. We have delivered over 80,000 learning experiences to young people across the world. Courses include Python & Java coding, AI, game design, and digital media production. Each workshop is designed to teach young people future skills such as design thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving. All of our programmes are taught by tech-savvy teachers from some of the UK’s leading universities. 

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