The truth is that young children tend to learn everything much faster compared to adults, not only coding, but many other things as well. Have you ever experienced a moment with your kids where you thought “Where the hell did he learn this from?”. Most likely he or she learned it from you, the family or Youtube. They only need to see, hear or experienced things once or twice and they will know how to do it by themselves, compared to some of us adults that are super slow in learning new things.
This is because children have more unused synapses that can be used to make a new connection between neurons to store memory effectively. For adults, they have lesser unused synapses and thus, they will be slower when it comes to absorbing new knowledge.
To make things simpler, it means that the children’s brain is like a brand new computer that can boot up faster, store things faster, load things a lot faster compared to an old computer like adult which takes ages to boot, crashes multiple times especially when you are trying to load the latest and greatest online game that you want to play. Sounds familiar? Just look around, do you see adults struggling to learn and understand something that you thought may be simple to them? Therefore, it’s also good to let our children learn a new language or skillset since young, because they can absorb very fast including learning to code.
Learning to code also promotes logical thinking that can help in other school subjects such as mathematics and science. This new skill could even end up as a hobby. With this, I believe that coding does not only complement the vital skills that the child is learning from school on a daily basis, but also provide a good opportunity for them to utilize part of their free time more productively by solving programming logic that can sharpen their logical and critical thinking.
However, how young should you start being exposed or not exposed to coding, especially when coding is also linked to screen time? There are various programs available online, on your tablets, smartphone and at your nearby enrichment centre. The best way to find out is to browse through the programs available, try it out yourself and make an informed decision whether the program is appropriate for your children. Most of them do indicate suitable age, and there are also offline activities that don’t require computer or iPad to teach your children coding, use www.code.org as a starting point to find out what are the various games, activities, and programs that are available, especially where a lot of them are free!
In summary, learning to code is no different than learning other languages, it is best to start from young so that the student can pick up the skillset easily. Furthermore, it also gives the child a better starting point in life compared to other children who did not receive such education or exposure. Take for example in the olden days, our parents do not use computers but use typewriters at work. Fast forward to today, even our children are using computers for schoolwork, so why don't we give them a head start for the future, where coding will be a common thing and probably even be a part of the national school curriculum?
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