One of parents’ main goals is to give a head start to their children. They invest in good schools, extra courses and training in hope that when their kids grow up, they will have a better chance to succeed in life. Good schools and special activity classes are very expensive in Dubai and in many cases do not meet expectations of parents. Still people want their children to learn foreign languages or to develop their creativity and sign them up for music, acting or drawing lessons.
However, in recent days there are many discussions about whether kids should be more exposed to computer programming. After all, we live in a highly technological world. Moreover, this is not likely to change any time soon. With every day, technology is finding more and more place in our daily lives. Does that mean that coding is the new second language which children should learn?
The truth is that coding can be quite difficult. It involves things like learning algorithms, as well as understanding of linguistic constructions and abstractions. However, it is also true that young minds have less trouble learning such information. Kids quickly get to know the basics of programming, whereas adults often get lost in all the information. In fact, children aged between 5 and 11 are generally found to acquire new skills and information the fastest. That is probably why Estonia already introduced coding into the first-grade curriculum. Interestingly, the home of the biggest technology companies, the U.S., still shies away from the idea. Nevertheless, discussions on the topic are enjoying greater media coverage over the last few months in the country.
Those who oppose the idea that children should learn programming, compare the skill to Latin. This is an interesting and even exotic language which not many people know today. Learning the basics of Latin may impress others. However, for the most part, this language is impractical because it is dead. Unless, you are a doctor, a linguist, a philosopher or an archeologist, it will not suit any big purpose. In a similar way, coding is still not a must-have skill. Of course, it is a big plus, but you can easily use a computer without it.
Despite all of that, exposing children to programming from an early age has many benefits. First, it will quickly develop their creativity, as well as logical and critical thinking. In addition, many of the aspects of coding overlap some of the main school subjects like maths, for instance. Also, being familiar with the basics of programming can open many door to kids in the future. Although, this is still not among the necessary job skills, this may soon change. Just think about it? Only 15 years ago, computer literacy was rarely part of job requirements. Now it is among the leading ones even for positions that are not directly connected with computers or technology.
But probably the biggest advantage of coding is that it will not turn kids into passive consumers. That is because they will be well aware of how this technology works and how they can best use it. If children learn the basics of programming, they will become smart computer users – a very rare species today.
It is probably too early for coding to be added to school curriculums. However, with today’s trends, it seems that we will soon start to take up second languages not to communicate with more people, but to understand better computers. Therefore, parents should better consider the option of sending their kids to programming training.