Recently, there has been much hype about Coding with the Government’s push on introducing coding to schools in Singapore, especially with Python to be tested as an ‘O’ level subject starting from 2017 in 19 schools in Singapore. But what is Coding, really?And why do our kids need to learn how to code?
Coding Lab is an award-winning (Yes! They were Voted Best in Coding Curriculum by Parents) school which grooms children aged 4-16 in 3 different countries (Japan, Perth and Singapore).
Foo Yong Ning, Founder of Coding Lab shares with us some insights on how learning to code early can help children to become better problem-solvers and logical thinkers.
A Coding Camp at Coding Lab’s Flagship Campus at Upper Bukit Timah Road.
Read on to find out how you can give your child a head start:
1. Rapid Growth in the Technology Sector
Information Technology was one of the top five highest paying sectors in Singapore in 2016.  Technology-related careers increasingly command top dollar, thanks to the Government’s push in the infocomm sector. With initiatives such as the ICT Learning roadmap (a push from IMDA to boost MOE schools’ ICT clubs capabilities) as well as IMDA Pixel Labs, almost every child in Singapore will now have a brush with technology sometime or the other.
Participants at TECH Saturday 2017, organised by IMDA. They created their own Bumper Car App.
With the Smart Nation Drive, Singapore is accelerating its trajectory in going digital, sharing information that improves the quality of life. (Eg. myTransport mobile app – making catching a bus a breeze, and passport renewal notifications). 
2. Technology is pervasive in almost every industry
There is no doubt that in today’s society, one cannot go through a single day without using a computer device. Whilst we do not expect every child to grow up to be a programmer, we know that future managers and professionals in the workforce will need to be able to communicate with developers.
Computational Thinking is getting into almost every single traditional discipline of Science, Math, Engineering and Finance. We use Computational Thinking to expedite the sequencing of human genome in Biology, analyse fMRI images in Medicine, model chemical reactions in Chemistry, perform weather forecasting in geology, provide the four-colour theorem proof in mathematics, perform aerodynamics tests of aircrafts with computer simulation in Aeronautics, perform quantitative trading in Finance and many more.
3. EarlyTechnological Literacy Makes Children Smarter
Whilst evidence has shown that reading is the cornerstone of a child’s development later in life, there is overwhelming research that suggests that early math skills are an better predictor of academic success than early reading skills.
In an article by the Californian Kindergarten Association , they found that early math skills were the strongest predictor of academic performance. Reading was second, followed by attention – all of which are important components of learning computational thinking.
Research by Tufts University showed that young children who learned coding significantly improved their sequencing skills, which in turn is known to help with reading comprehension .
Today, in countries such as the UK, Nursery-going kids have started learning coding at school, which have left many parents baffled and unable to keep up with the tech jargon spouted by our preschoolers as young as 3.
4. Pick Up Computational Thinking, a critical Life-skill
Computational thinking is a way of thinking which allows you to solve problems and arrive at a solution which can be easily and accurately executed by a computer (or another human). It is critical that children learn this powerful strategy in life.
Previously introduced only as a tertiary level subject for Engineering or IT undergraduates, the traditional programming curriculum was one with a very steep learning curve.
With the strong need to first understand the syntax (the grammar, punctuations and vocabulary) of the programming language, many an aspiring programmer has had sleepless nights debugging their code, only to realise that a simple error such as an extra bracket or a missing semi-colon would prevent the program from compiling.
Old: Text-based programming Language
With the introduction of drag-and-drop programming software such as Scratch Junior (Ages 4-7) and Scratch (Ages 8-12) which focus on fostering logical thinking skills with instant, attractive output such as games, colours and animation, children can now start as young as 4 and now go straight to the more important aspect of coding – the computational thinking behind the algorithm, instead of being bogged down by the syntax.
Imagine 9 year-olds learning Genetics, Cell Division or Projectile Motion, in Coding Class! That is now a reality, by integrating Information Technology with mainstream subjects – enabling students to learn advanced concepts readily.
What our 9-year olds learn in our weekly classes: Programming Projectiles with Rainbows
5. Get a head start at school
From 2017, 16-year-old students will be able to take programming as part of their O levels subjects. 
This follows the trend globally, where many countries have started to introduce Computer Science as a compulsory subject starting from Elementary School.
In 2014, UK introduced compulsory computer science curriculum for children aged 5 to 16. Many parents are amazed by the tech vocabulary that their nursery-age kids are sprouting . By the age of seven, all children will now be expected to be capable of writing and debugging a simple program. By 11, some will be exploring concepts once considered appropriate for undergraduate .
In Japan, computer programming will be a compulsory subject at primary school in 2020, with the aim of improving children’s ability to think logically and creatively .
In Sep 2015, Australia announced that Coding will soon replace History and Geography under their revamped national curriculum. Australian students will begin coding at age 10 and computer programming at age 12 .
Most importantly, students have so much fun whilst learning a critical life skill!
Watch our students as young as 8 create a voice recognition app, anti-dengue campaign and so much more!
At Coding Lab, children begin their journey into digital literacy and computational thinking, enabling them to become confident creators of technology. With an MIT-inspired Curriculum, Tech-immersive environment and small class sizes, our workshops cultivate logical problem-solving skills and foster creativity of expression in children.
We are also voted the Best Coding Curriculum by parents (Parents World Magazine, 2017-17)– awarded only to the best enrichment centres in Singapore.
Coding Lab is offering Kiasuparents readers an exclusive 15% off all their June Holiday Camps. Use code KSP15at checkout when you purchase any camp slots.
To view our camp schedule, visit www.codinglab.com.sg or call +65 6528 2282. Camps run from 29 May – 23 June 2017. Spaces are running out fast! They take in only 8 students per class.
“Everybody should learn to program a computer because it teaches them to think”
– Steve Jobs.
<TESTIMONIALS FROM STUDENTS & PARENTS>
Students: “Coding is very useful, especially at school as I can get a head start on Algebra which I’m only supposed to learn it in P6.”, Jake, 8 years old
“In Coding, we use a lot of Mathematics and think a lot. I have to figure our what the different problems are, and how to make them smaller so that they are easier to solve.” Tobias, 10 years old.
Parents: “When I first heard about this course, I was quite skeptical… It seemed quite “Heavy Duty” and I was wondering if a child from age 8-12 could appreciate this kind of (programming course). I was caught by surprise when they enjoyed the course so much! It teaches them how to analyse, break down problems into smaller parts. It (can be) applied to their daily life, in schoolwork, even in music scores where they can break it up into pieces and play better. It helps to develop (my) child’s potential!” Eng Chor Yong, Mother of 3 (2 sons attended Coding Lab’s classes from 2016-2017)
“I started looking for a Coding class for Khair because he was interested in sketching, drawing and he had done very simple app animations. In terms of problem solving, coding helps him in realising what works, what doesn’t work, and also the thinking process behind it.” Nurbakyah Mohd Shaw (Son Khair attended Coding Lab’s Classes)