Teach My Elementary Schooler Java!

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java for kids

If only we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard that…

When learning Math at school, students start by familiarizing themselves with numbers, then addition, subtraction and so on. They certainly don’t dive headfirst into calculus in kindergarten! When you teach a child to swim, it’s the same thing: first they get comfortable with just being in the water, they graduate from using floaters to noodles to finally swimming on their own. Would you put your child into an 8-foot deep pool and leave them to fend for themselves on day one of swim class? We hope not!

This exact same principle applies to teaching kids how to code; it’s temptingly easy for parents (especially parents who are familiar with computer science or working in the tech industry) to disregard the initial stages of curriculum as ‘baby stuff’ or ‘not something my child will need or use in real life’. There is something to be said, however, for taking it slow and steady, following a well-thought-out and painstakingly developed curriculum (shameless self-praise but we really are so proud of it!) rather than jumping the gun and exposing your child to a language as complex and detail oriented as Java when they may, in fact, not be physically or mentally ready for it. The absolute last thing we ever want to see at iCode is a discouraged, disillusioned student.

The iCode curriculum is proprietary, and our Belt System is carefully re-evaluated at regular intervals to ensure that we’re always on top of our game, offering the best possible path of progression to ensure that our students are enjoying what they’re learning, comfortable with their progress but also sufficiently challenged. Our Belt System was designed keeping in mind the general progression of cognitive development in children; up until 7 years of age, the average child is developing his or her sensory and motor skills. Operational and logical skills don’t really begin developing until 7 or 8 years of age. Concrete operational skills and the ability to grasp abstract logic, usually develops in the pre-teen years. Our Belt structure reflects this as well: the White Belt introduces Scratch, the Red Belt explores Game Design and Development and the Blue Belt gets into the more meaty Python (pun absolutely not intended!)

In conclusion, as much as you may want to see your child master the most advanced of languages and/or programs at a young age, don’t push them to do this at the expense of their joy in learning. It is great to focus on the end goal but enjoy the journey your child will take to get there; the innumerable and transferable skills he or she will pick up along the way, the fundamentals that will become part of a rich learning experience. Trust in the process of learning that opens imaginations to new and amazing possibilities. Trust the structured curriculum, designed to provide a rock-solid foundation in computer science. Trust iCode as an educational institute that is firmly committed to the progress of each child.

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