HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT CLASS FOR YOUR CHILD
K-1st Grade – Kids in this age range should sign up for Early Coding. This class is designed to have more variety of activities, including some standing up and moving around, and it’s perfect for young attention spans. We create animations, stories and simple games with code.
2nd Grade – If your child is in 2nd grade you have two choices. If your child is a bit younger, learns best when physical movement is included, or has trouble sitting still or focusing for an hour, Early Coding is a good choice. For 2nd graders who can sit and focus on one thing for an hour, we recommend the Scratch (Video Games) class. Scratch also requires use of the mouse rather than iPad, so if your child’s fine motor skills are less developed, you may want to do Early Coding at first.
3rd-4th Grade – We recommend 3rd and 4th graders start with our Code Your Own Video Games course, using Scratch. It’s fun, creative and kids will make working games right away.
5th-6th Grade – Scratch (Video Games) is still a great choice if your child wants to make games, but students in this age range can also consider other classes such as Minecraft Mods 1, Android Apps, or Websites. The way to choose between these is based on what your child is interested in building.
7th-8th Grade – Kids in 7th and 8th grade may choose from any of the 5th-6th grade options, or may start directly in Python. Once again, choose based on what your child is interested in building.
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After taking your first coding class, you have a lot of options. We like to think of it as a question of depth vs. breadth. It is just like learning some French and then deciding between more French or switching to Spanish, Italian or Mandarin.
Our first preference is to keep going with the same coding language so you can experience the benefits of depth. All the languages we use have enough capability to build a range of projects from beginner to advanced, so you don’t need to worry that your child has learned it all. To use the human language example again – even once you are fluent in English, there is still a big difference between you and Hemmingway.
But if your child is asking to do something else, they may just want a change of pace. We offer many other coding languages for this exact reason. Plus, learning new coding languages can be great for reinforcing the first language and transferring concepts.
For kids younger than 10, or those who type slowly, we recommend they stay with a block-based language. We offer 3 block-based languages: Scratch, App Inventor and Minecraft Modding. These languages take away the frustrations of typing, matching brackets, spelling and coding syntax. Kids can focus on the concepts and design of coding, and be more productive, creative and thoughtful.
The 3 block-based languages each are used to make different types of projects:
Scratch is good for making games and animations.
App Inventor allows kids to make real apps that run on Android devices, including use of the device’s camera, texting, accelerometer and more.
Minecraft mixes coding basics with the Minecraft game environment.
Python is good for kids who want classic coding. Projects include text-based games, encryption and computer generated art.
Web Development is best for kids who have a specific interest in building a website.
Note that to really learn and understand any of the text-based languages, you should plan to repeat the class more than once. 10 hours is not much when learning a complex professional language.
Finally, kids are welcome to return to previous languages after trying others. They may try Scratch, Minecraft and App Inventor, for example, and then decide to spend more time with Scratch. This is a perfectly valid course sequence and will continue your child’s learning.