Computer codes are languages that humans use to speak to machines to make them perform tasks people want them to do. For example, writing – print(“Hello World!”) – in the Python language asks the computer to display the text “Hello World!” on the screen. Codes can also be used to control how mobile apps and Web portals work.
Given the recent push by both the Government and private sector for coding to be taught in schools, if children do not learn coding, they may get left behind. Still, even with the government's goal of developing a healthy pipeline of tech talent, coding is more than just a gateway to a well-paying career.
Coding encourages children to be curious, inventive and resourceful, as well as expose them to the skills needed to embrace new opportunities in the digital economy. These skills include logical thinking, sequential thinking, creative thinking and critical thinking skills
Coding or computational thinking is now considered an integral part of the new digital literacy. In fact, coding is basic literacy in the digital age. There has been a rising awareness of coding as an important skill, especially as Singapore establishes its identity as a tech hub.
It is never too early to introduce coding to young children because even children who cannot read or spell can grasp the logic of coding through symbols. As they get more independent when they turn four, and are able to understand the concepts of sequencing and giving clear instructions, this is the age that is suitable for them to learn the concepts of coding.
Indeed, there is a need to demystify digital technology and make learning it accessible to anyone, such as pre-schoolers and even those with special needs. Getting young children familiar with coding will make them comfortable with future technology, and spur them on to learn how to use technology to help others.