7 reasons your primary school pupils should learn to code

7 reasons your primary school pupils should learn to code

For today’s children, learning to code is fun.

Gone are the days when that meant dry classroom sessions and number-crunching.

With the advent of simplified computers like the Raspberry Pi, and rich learning software like Scratch, pupils are turning play into useful skills.

Here are seven great reasons your primary school pupils should be learning code:

1. Coding has become basic literacy in the digital age

Programming is at the heart of so many things these days.

Have you heard the phrase ‘the internet of things’? That’s how ordinary items like security systems, televisions, or even washing machines now have internet access.

Programming is also at the heart of many of the toys children use.

Learning to use those items is one thing, understanding the language behind them is something different.

Coding allows children to truly understand the logic behind the items they’re using. Rather than being passive consumers of technology, coding skills allow them to control that technology.

In a few decades, an inability to code could hold someone back as much as an inability to write or to understand maths.

2. It’s an international language

Coding languages are universal. Once your pupils learn them, they can speak the same language as children in China or Russia.

We’re already in a world dominated by software, so children need to be able to speak those languages.

3. It encourages critical thinking

Children who learn to code also learn how to think logically about processes and understand them at an early age. This helps them in many other areas of their education and life in general.

Coding encourages pupils to problem-solve and think critically about a situation.

It helps them break down a process or problem into smaller chunks and to deal with them in sequence.

This is a useful skill for many roles in life, and helps to produce resilient people.

4. Coding helps tell a story

You might not associate writing code with storytelling or creativity, but most methods of learning code are all about following a storyline as children learn how to code a game or an animation.

Scratch is a visually-rich programming method taught to many children – and it uses storylines to help youngsters as they learn.

There are also lots of items like drones and robots which are controlled by programming, allowing pupils to learn how they can control the world around them in fun ways.

5. Learning is better, and faster, when children are young

Children’s minds are open and flexible, and like learning a language, it’s easier if they start when they’re young.

As a vital skill which is becoming more and more important as time goes on, starting pupils on the right path now will only help them reap the rewards in the future.

6. It builds confidence

A child who is able to unleash his or her creativity and learn new skills is a child who will become confident and resilient.

Systems like Scratch are empowering. They don’t feel stuffy and give children choices. Scratch learners start out by creating stories and playing games and can modify parts of the story or game they don’t like to suit them better by rewriting code.

7. It helps children develop ideas and work together

Children’s imagination is wonderful – creating rich imaginary situations in which they and their friends can play.

Being able to code allows children to enhance that imagination. They can write code to help to create or modify games or apps in line with their own ideas. They can also work together in teams, sharing ideas.

Coding allows children to create their own virtual worlds. Scratch allows children to create stories, music, art, games, and apps.

Scratch is widely-used in the education system as a first step in learning coding. It’s aimed at youngsters aged eight to 16, but can be used by people of all ages.

If you’re feeling daunted by the prospect of learning code so that you can teach your pupils, don’t be.

You can learn basic coding in just a few hours – and anyone can learn to code. You don’t have to be a mathematician or scientist.

We have hands-on, one-day INSET where you can learn Scratch programming  Find out more just email bookings@nsmtc.co.uk

NSM Training & Consultancy provides expert training for headteachers, teachers, and school staff. Read more about the work here:https://www.nsmtc.co.uk/

The company was established by international education consultant and teacher Nicola S Morgan. She developed a reputation for excellence in dealing with the most difficult pupils and now runs training courses for schools and parents and is a published author in the field.