More children are tinkering with coding – and they are getting younger and younger.
Five years ago, they would be mostly students from primary and secondary schools, thanks largely to the Code for Fun enrichment programme offered by the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Education.
The interest has since filtered down to pre-schools, with coding being part of their curriculum or an enrichment option at some school chains, such as EtonHouse, E-Bridge, Carpe Diem and Kinderland.
Dr Elaine Kim, co-founder and chief executive officer of Trehaus pre-school, says that up to age six, children’s brains are like sponges taking in everything around them.
“They’re joining dots and processing information in a way that they won’t be able to do when they’re older. That initial curiosity, creativity and passion for learning, very sadly, often get chipped away,” says Dr Kim, who is also a medical doctor and has three sons aged four to nine.
“I would never be as adept at coding as my eldest son, who picked it up almost like a native language,” she adds. Her son Kyan Kim, nine, was introduced to computational thinking when he was four years old and has shown an aptitude for it.
“He has built his own website and apps. But whenever I see him in action, I don’t understand most of what he is doing. I have no idea what he’s talking about,” she says with a laugh.
Image credits: ST Photo Desmond Foo