Not sure where to begin with your child’s first crack at coding? Current studies show that the education of children in the computer sciences lies in four distinct and progressive phases.
These four stages consist of:
Upon close inspection of each of these categories, researchers have discovered that early childhood computer education is best learned when children are exposed to the basic concepts of computing. Furthermore, they will benefit greatly when provided with the necessary tools needed to teach them the fundamentals of debugging a program, as well as solving a problem.
The unplugged approach is unique in that it places emphasis on promoting computational thinking, rather than focusing on learning the syntax of a particular coding language. What this really means is that a child will learn about the basics of computing without ever having to turn one on. Much of the content in preschool and kindergarten is taught through the use of unplugged, hands-on activities. Students may use a paper and pencil, manipulatives, games, songs, or even their own bodies to experience coding principles in a deeper way. By engaging in these activities, young children develop computational thinking in age-appropriate ways.
Unplugged computer science is gaining traction due to its inexpensive nature, as well as decreasing the amount of time children spend in front of the screen.
Stay tuned for phase 2 of computer science education for kids!
To view an example of an unplugged activity, take a look at the following video: