If we had a penny every time we're asked about after school courses during term time, well you know the rest...
Starting after Christmas we will be running our first scheduled weekly after school coding courses for ages 8-15. Courses will take place at Swiss Cottage Library and are split into two age groups: 8-11 and 12-15 year olds.
From January 2020, as with all our coding courses for children, we will introduce our students to coding using Python which is a full-featured programming language and not a child-specific platform. This is because we approach coding as a serious academic subject while still ensuring every project we work on is engaging and enjoyable.
We're really excited to have access to the facilities at Swiss Cottage Library, not just because of the amazing modernist architecture but because it also offers parents things to do whilst their children are coding.
The curriculum students will follow is designed to make sure they gain a deep and thorough understanding of the key topics in coding, giving them the ability to quickly become more independent with their programming. Sessions will run for 1 hour every week, held on Thursdays after school. As with all our courses, students will get access to additional resources and to our online support service as they explore programming outside the classroom.
Right from the start, all the work we do is project-based, with all projects in the early stages being of a visual nature. This makes sure students are highly engaged from the beginning of a course, and also allows them to use their creativity by writing code to create a drawing, for example.
Following the basic Python syntax, we introduce the 'for' loop, which is one of the basic building blocks of any program. Again, the focus here goes well beyond teaching them how to write a 'for' loop correctly; the main aim is to get them to understand why this tool is so important in coding and how to recognise when they need to use one ('for' loops allow us to ask the computer to repeat something over and over again so we don’t have to do it ourselves.)
We then introduce further topics such as 'while' loops, 'if' statements and defining functions. This allows us to build more complex projects and helps students learn how to structure code within such programs. Such projects focus on the problem-solving aspect of coding.
While the courses are a great place for students to learn coding skills, it's very often the soft skills developed along the way that have the biggest impact. Coding is widely recognised as a fantastic pursuit to develop logical thinking, creative problem solving and collaboration skills. In fact it's these skills that help the students develop as individuals way beyond coders with a positive impact being seen across academic subjects and personal development.
We can't wait to get started at Swiss Cottage Library and we hope to see you there. Before we start taking bookings we have created a register interest page where you can sign-up to be kept informed of priority booking windows and other developments in the course programme.