Scrolling through my Facebook feed as I do every morning and I came across this…
I consider myself a fairly laid back parent. There are few things that I get passionately heated about, but two of the things that I have been known to talk extensively about are equal opportunities for girls, and raising bilingual (or multilingual) kids. Having 2 girls myself, it is so important to me for them to not only be exposed to as many opportunities as possible, but also for them to truly believe and internalize the message that they really can – and should – do anything that boys can do.
Recently both of these passions dovetailed neatly when I joined a coding class with my daughter. (Yes, I believe programming languages are part of raising a multilingual kid in 2017!!) Being the only girl in the class, I was worried she would feel uncomfortable or out of place. Instead she dove right in, chatted with the boys and had a blast! My other big concern was that she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the kids her age and a bit older. Partly because we don’t allow a lot of screen time in the house, so I thought she might not have as much experience as them, and partly because being in a French Immersion school, her English reading and writing isn’t at the same level as many of her peers. As often is the case, I was worrying for nothing. Adri blew me away with how quickly she picked up all of the concepts that were being taught – navigating her way through confidently on her own, and not being too shy to raise her hand and ask for help when she needed it.
The #LevelUpKids session gave her a chance to experience a ton of STEM based activities, pieces of the many different camps that Level Up Kids offers and see that it isn’t just a boys club. Girls can code too! Watching her explore the technical activities at the information centre had my mommy heart cheering loudly! I love watching my confident, clever girl pick up new skills and interact with other kids as they explore. I know she’s going to be successful (and have fun!) That’s why I love the idea of the Level Up Kids summer camp offerings. Seeing all of the sample activities they participated in – so they could get a taste of what they would be learning in camp – left us chomping at the bit for more! Choosing just one will be our only challenge. And while I think it’s awesome that they have a Coding Girls camp, Adri actually really enjoyed hanging with the boys.
There’s lots of reasons why these programs are so important beyond the gender equality and multilingual focus for me. Teaching kids how to write code teaches them a lot more than how to program a computer. At Level Up Kids summer camps and schools students to learn to:
- Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Students learn to understand the problem, find a way to attack it, and work until it is done and they can pass to the next level.
- Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Students learn that it helps to break down complex problems into simpler ones. Designing algorithms requires using logic and abstract thinking.
- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Students will work together, exchange ideas, and discuss various strategies to solve the problems.
- Model with Mathematics While working through different programs, students will use X and Y coordinates, spatial directions, find shortest paths, measure distances, calculate areas, work with random numbers and more.
- Use appropriate tools strategically. Most programming tasks can be solved in several different ways. Students learn that selecting the appropriate tool can save them time and effort.
- Attend to precision. For a computer program to work, the logic of the underlying algorithm must be precise, and moreover the program needs to be written and formatted very carefully.
- Look for and make use of structure. Looking for patterns and making use of structure is a fundamental component of computer programming. Students learn that finding a pattern simplifies the logic, and makes the solution of the problem easier.
- Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. Computer programming teaches students to generalize their thinking. They learn to use solutions to previously solved problems to attack more complicated ones.
I am so glad my daughter is going to have this opportunity this summer – after seeing how much she could learn in 2 hours, I can’t wait to see what she learns in a week of full day camp!
All on the table disclosure: This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and #LevelUpKids sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. Read my full disclosure statement here.