Want to get your kids interested in coding, programming, app creation and more? Sassy Mama Crystal has put together a list of her top picks for the best programming classes in Singapore as part 3 of her “Girls in Tech” series.
We live in a world where tech skills are a requirement to succeed, no matter your field. A number of programmers that we spoke to for our Girls in Tech post cited early exposure to programming as very important in their development as IT professionals, while many who learned programming as adults wished they had started earlier. But programming isn’t something that your child will learn to love by drilling facts in a tuition centre.
We encourage you to seek out some of the opportunities listed below, depending on your child’s interests.
First Code Academy hosts the Girls Who Code event. Girls learn how to create mobile games and connect with other girls with an interest in computer programming.
Children 6-8 use Scratch, Makey Makey, Dash, and others as an introduction to programming. Student projects focus on thinking creatively, reasoning logically, and working collaboratively. Children 9-11 learn how to write their own apps and games with increasing complexity. After age 12, students focus on building a solid foundation in computer science with not only challenging work, but by tackling issues within the community such as privacy and security.
Workshops called ‘Today’s Tinkerers, Tomorrow’s Imagineers’ emphasise ‘Creative Computational Thinking’ skills and help children develop an appreciation of using technology (including coding) to create. Workshops are built around a broad range of interest areas like Music, Storytelling, Science, Nature, and Arts & Crafts. Parents learn alongside their child and support their child’s learning. Imagin8ors emphasises ‘Creative Computational Thinking’ skills and helps children develop an appreciation of using technology to create. My daughter Elanor took their Scratch Jr Workshop and has been tinkering with the app ever since.
LEGO are one of the most popular children’s toys. LEGO Robotics takes that love of building one step further. WondersWork offers weekly classes at Liang Court for ages 5-7 and 8+. They also offer regular holiday camps, including a space themed one that my seven year old daughter is looking forward to attending in late December. They also offer themed birthday parties at their site on in your home.
In3Labs offers four different classes—Code:Games:Apps, First Tech Maker, Robo Maker, and the Asia Pacific Youth Robotics Competition (APYRC). Code:Games:Apps allows children 6-15 to develop their own games and apps using a variety of approaches including Scratch Jr, Java, Android App Developer and Web Development. Do you have a 9-16 year old who wants to take everything apart or designs their own inventions? First Tech Maker might be for them. Robo Maker is for kids 5-16 with an interest in robotics. As their skills grow, so too will the complexity of their robots. The Asia Pacific Youth Robotics Competition is held twice a year during the June and November school holidays for children 9 to 17 to design, build, and compete in various robotics games.
“Tech Star” classes start from the age of 4 and cover topics like coding, robotics and 3D printing. The programme was designed and is overseen by Roger Kassebaum, one of the most prominent and decorated STEM educators in America. Older students can move on to more complex topics like app creation and wearable tech, or join the First LEGO League competition. Keys Academy founder Ayesha is also involved with 21c Girls, which provides free technology classes and camps for girls in Singapore (along with occasional “Moms Who Code” seminars in case you’re curious, mama!).
Saturday Kids’ philosophy is to combine the human-centred approach of Design Thinking with the reasoning tools of Computational Thinking to help children understand the world, and tackle problems creatively and critically. Not only do inventors, coders, and engineers need to be great at decomposing problems systematically, but they also need to be able to empathise with people to create meaningful solutions and improve the human condition. Saturday Kids runs holiday camps and weekend workshops for kiddos to learn how to programme, design and engineer, and open their minds to the endless fun and possibilities of creating with technology. Let your little ones have fun while engaging with technology more meaningfully than simply playing with an iPad or smartphone, and discover the joy of using it to invent the future!
And don’t forget there’s plenty you can do to encourage a love of science and technology in the home. Be sure to check out some suggested at-home activities from STEAM educator Andrew Dier of Canadian International School, along with our handy Tech Gift Guide for Kids — just in time for the holidays!