Unnecessary rush to learn a skill which provides no value to children below 10 years.
There has been lot of talk, Google ads, YouTube ads, Television Ads on the subject of coding for children. Some sites claim to start coding at 6 years of age. We are not in favour of learning this skill at such an early age at all. In fact all coding skills on a laptop/computer should be encouraged after 10 years if the child is interested.
We ourselves are Computer and IT Engineers who worked for over 10 years in companies like Oracle, Iflex, Mastek, Aviva before getting trained in Montessori and Early childhood education. So we bring some context and personal experience when we write this article.
What is Coding
Coding at heart of the matter is solving complex problems with the help of technology. We are asking computers and machines to execute on the tasks we command. The computers will respond to your code based on how well its written and give feedback whether the result you want is achieved or not.
Coding means we understand how to communicate with a particular technology and learn the syntax rules. A lot of “experts” claim that learning coding is similar to learning a new language. That is not true at all.
On the other hand coding languages change every 5-10 years. The syntax and the structure learnt will change and the coding knowledge will be obsolete. So making the child learn code early has no clear benefit in long term interns of retaining syntax or coding standards.
Social Skills and Peer Group
Children in 6 -12 years age, especially 10 and below, are extra sensitive to peer groups. They want to be part of a group and want to work within that group. Children have an intrinsic need to spend time with their peers and work /play with them rather than spend a lot of time working alone on a digital device.
Real World Situations rather than Technology based
Children need to work to find solutions to real world problems. Can the children organise a trip to camp? Can they find out what supplies they need to stay overnight? Can they do a run to the grocery store/supply store to pick up all materials? Solving real world problems for their peers and themselves should take precedence over solving abstract problems.
Children need to first learn to understand and solve real world problems that we face in day-today life. They are building logical thinking, sequencing, perseverance and problem solving skills with everyday tasks. These tasks also have interactions and communicating with their friends, family and even outsiders like vendors.
So learning to code is good once the child has reached certain mental maturity and able to handle everyday and real world problems.