Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash
December 16, 2021

Don’t Make Kids Learn Coding. Take It From Me. I Run A Coding School For Kids.

John Tan, CEO, Doyobi
2 min read

About ten years ago I started a coding school for kids called Saturday Kids, just as I was getting into angel investing. The idea back then was to help kids become technical so it’ll be easier for them to launch their own startups. So naive it’s laughable.

Ten years on I tell people Saturday Kids is a curiosity school for kids. We still teach coding, but the goal isn’t to get kids technical.

Coding is just a means to an end. Curiosity, imagination and empathy are far more important and valuable traits.

Writing code is just a means to an end — to build products that are useful to people. The founders who are wildly successful are the ones with the curiosity, imagination and empathy to figure out what is it users want, often before users themselves can imagine what the product might look like. Henry Ford’s faster horse is a favourite example.

Learning coding makes kids curious about how to create with technology.

Over the last ten years we’ve taught thousands of kids coding at Saturday Kids, and we’ve noticed how excited kids get when they start building their own games and animations on Scratch. Kids are not excited about writing code. They are excited about what they can build with code. This is an important difference. Learning coding opens a world of possibilities for kids and allows them to express themselves creatively.

Building stuff with code shows kids learning can be fun.

Kids have a blast making their ideas come alive with code. Many kids tell us it’s the most fun they have ever had in a classroom. We ask them to remember learning can be fun and it is up to them to keep learning on their own. Too much of learning in school is rote memorisation. We show kids there is a different kind of learning that involves imagination and problem solving in order to bring their ideas to the world.

Don’t make kids learn coding for coding’s sake. Make them learn coding to inspire curiosity, spark imagination, and build something people want.

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