Well, put that screen time to good use then! Learning is not just happening in the classroom or behind a textbook anymore; there are several resources out there that can extend your child’s learning process beyond the classroom – and would you believe some of them are even fun?! Jokes aside, though, there are so many programs and software that it can be downright daunting for the uninitiated. Where does one even begin?

Well, to make it just a tad bit easier for you (are ya feelin the love yet?), this blog will talk about one of the most well-known and reliable programs out there that introduces your young one to coding and programming in an enjoyable way! Scratch is a programming language designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. It teaches children to “program and share interactive media stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively and reason systematically”.

Not convinced? The way it works is simple; Scratch has an extremely child-friendly drag-and-drop interface and all children have to do is select from different blocks of instructions to perform tasks. What it does on a deeper level, however, is teach children ‘computational thinking’. Your child is not just absorbing digital content anymore; they’re creating it, designing it, modifying it. They’re improving their ‘digital fluency’! The community aspect of Scratch is also wonderful because it creates an atmosphere in which children feel proud to share their work with others, get feedback on it, and give respectful, insightful feedback themselves.

If there is one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: there is no saying what programming languages will look like ten years from now, which jobs will be done entirely by machines and which new professions will come into being. What we do know is this: technological innovation is changing our lives at a dizzying pace, and our children need to have the now-essential skills of computational thinking, problem solving and working in collaboration with their peers to not just survive but thrive.

In the words of Harvard professor of education Stephanie M. Jones, “if you raise and educate kids to be flexible, problem solvers and good communicators, they can adapt to a world that is new”.