STEM

Is coding just for the future Steve Jobs of the world?

The ubiquity of technology in the recent years has turned coding into a requirement for basic literacy. Knowing how to use a smartphone or a tablet is not enough anymore. Schools in the UK, Singapore, and even some in the US, have already introduced coding in the curriculum. You may think coding is just for the future software engineers and computer programmers, but it’s actually a skill that can be beneficial to anyone, even at a young age.  

So, how does teaching coding help your little one? 

1. Your child will think about the world in a new way. Steve Jobs once said, “Everyone should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.” Not every job will require technical skills, but the logic-based thought one learns through programming is an important intellectual skill. Your child will start looking at the bigger picture while also learning how to break down big challenges into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

2. Coding will be beneficial in school. Learning how to code helps your little one with problem-solving. Your child will learn how to plan actions in a step-by-step manner and structure answers in an organized way. Coding and mathematics are closely linked, each offering beneficial insight into the other. Children with programming knowledge can apply their concrete coding skills in understanding abstract mathematical concepts. 

3. Your child will become a storyteller. Coding is sequential. A program has a beginning, progression, and ending. When programming, one must first figure out why one thing logically leads to another in a particular order and then think about how to express that sequence coherently. Thinking in abstract sequences is an important skill, extending far past programming. Many daily activities, from planning a walking route to school to recounting experiences of the day, require an ability to organize ideas and concepts sequentially.

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4. Coding helps develop creativity. Much like arts and crafts, coding is a form of expressing one’s creativity. Any problem has almost limitless paths to a solution. Part of the creativity of programming is finding out which path is the right one to take. According to Karen Brennan, one of the developers of Scratch (a free online computer programming language where you can create stories, games, and animations), “Kids were used to being told how to think, how to memorize. This allows them to be in control. It takes some time, but once kids have a little taste of being creative, many of them don’t want to look back.”

You don’t need to be an expert to teach your children how to code. You can do it today in your own home by checking out Dearest’s blog post on the best tools for your children to learn coding.

The Dearest Blog by Dearest Educational Childcare. Find amazing educators to teach your child programming basics and many other skills on dearest.io

 

Sources:  

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/dec/03/should-kids-learn-code http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/11/coding-and-creativity/ https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/07/year-of-code-dan-crow-songkick

Workshop: Teaching Science

We kicked off the event with a warm welcome by Eiko, founder of Dearest, who was extremely delighted to see the many happy faces of providers at the company's first event.

Maya, our Community Development Manager, then led the introduction on how to use the platform and our educational session guideline to give everyone a better idea and structure of what Dearest is all about!

Adam, Guest Teacher, from NYU, who is also a provider on the platform, started off by taking us through some Teaching Practices and Strategies for STEM Educators

His Ph.D. Research at NYU is based on STEM and Literacy for young children. As an experienced teacher (both General and Special Education), his passion for teaching and learning Science definitely shone through as he took us through some hands-on science activities to do with children. 

The first station revolved around The Phenomena of Inquiry: Why Structures Stand or Fall? Providers got their hands busy by building structures with different materials in various ways. 

The next station explored the Concepts of Floating and Sinking. Adam explained how using different cultural tools and words can stimulate thinking in each child and best practices on teaching. 

The third station was focused on Exploring Light Phenomena as providers learnt how to use a pin-hole camera to teach concepts related to light and creating shadows.

Up next was our STEM Competition! Providers came with a brainstormed STEM Activity with a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! It was amazing seeing how some providers came prepared not just with activities but props too! Congratulations to Rebecca for winning the prize! 

It was a really close call given the thoughtful educational activities suggested by other providers. This was also a great way for everyone to share ideas to grow and learn from each other. 

To wrap up the event, we handed out goodie bags - with activity inspiration and some handy materials to use during sessions.

Before we listed those activities however, we made sure we could do it too. So we experimented, tried and failed and put those that succeeded on display!

We hope everyone that attended walked away with great ideas and inspiration to teach and we just wanted to thank all of our providers and people who contributed to making this event a success. 

We can't wait to share with everyone more about future workshops that are currently in the pipeline. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, and like us on Facebook to stay tuned for updates!