Bringing coding to the early years seems like a big step as the Early Learning Goal for technology narrowly states that young children should use technology for a particular purpose. It’s one strand of the curriculum where practitioners may be less confident in working that cross-curricular, linked-learning best practice that we are the true experts of.
To bring coding to the early years we need to better understand what coding is and how the skills of a good coder are related to the skills we are developing across the areas of learning.
The Cornerstones of Coding
Being good at coding is more than inputing commands in sequence. Good coders are actually good problem solvers. Coding is a process underpinned by the skills of:
- Pattern Spotting and Sequencing
- Breaking larger problems down in to small steps (Decomposition)
- Looking for mistakes and correcting them (debugging)
- Making predications based on prior knowledge (Logical Reasoning)
- Testing out ideas (Evaluating)
- Playing around (Tinkering – yes that’s a technical term too!)
Looking at this list of skills and the definitions, I immediately see a link to The Characteristics of Effective Learning.
For readers who are new to the Early Years Foundation Stage in England, you can view the 2019 profile handbook here and read about The Characteristics of Effective Learning which underpin all learning for birth to 5 year olds here (page 22).