YOUNG CHILDREN TO LEARN COMPUTATIONAL THINKING FOR FREE
Tiny Thinkers campaign will equip parents with accessible resources and the know-how to set the foundation for their child’s journey into a Smart Nation
A team of final-year NTU students have launched a campaign democratising Computational Thinking learning for families of all socioeconomic statuses. They will be organising free workshops for more than 400 parents, including beneficiaries from various non-profit organisations.
The campaign, Tiny Thinkers, aims to equip young children with foundational knowledge and skills of Computational Thinking by providing free resources and workshops, as these enrichment classes and tools often come at a high cost.
Computational Thinking is the logical thought process used to guide computers in solving problems. Coding and programming are commonly mistaken for Computational Thinking, but are actually applications of this fundamental skill.
Tiny Thinkers comes at a time when Singapore is increasing efforts to develop Computational Thinking as a national capability. “With Singapore’s pressing advancement towards a Smart Nation, Computational Thinking is a critical skill to develop as we harness technology in the economy, community, and even in our daily lives,” Dr. Looi Chee Kit, Professor of Education, Nanyang Technological University said.
The team conducted a survey of 403 parents with children aged four to seven, and found that 83% of them believe Computational Thinking is beneficial for their child’s cognitive development. However, 80% of them had not exposed their children to the skill, citing barriers like limited access to affordable resources, a lack of time, and their perceived complexity of the subject.
Tiny Thinkers will help parents tackle these barriers by providing access to free learning resources designed to incorporate learning into their child’s everyday routines, saving time and costs. These games, which can be conducted while grocery shopping, during snack time, or while storytelling, are curated in collaboration with Coding Lab, a coding academy specialising in educating children from ages four to 18.
➡️ Related Read: Best Coding School Singapore
An example would be ‘Making A Sandwich‘, which teaches children Computational Thinking concepts of algorithms and loops through giving a series of clear instructions that can be easily understood by a computer. This activity takes less than 15 minutes, and parents can find a collection of such activities on their website.
With other nation-wide initiatives targeted at older children and the working population, Tiny Thinkers is designed to expose younger children to the basic foundations of Computational Thinking to pique their interest. “The earlier children are exposed to this way of thinking, the earlier we unleash the potential of their problem-solving ability in the 21st century,” says Candice Wang, co-founder of Coding Lab.
A series of hour-long workshops sessions, Tiny Thinkers On The Go, will guide parents to conduct these activities with their children at home. Each family will also receive a complimentary Tiny Thinkers Starter Kit filled with resources and materials to kickstart their child’s journey in Computational Thinking.
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