We know early childhood is prime time for teaching new skills, ideas, and languages. But are kindergartners ready for computational thinking, problem solving, and coding?
Our team took a trip to West Bend, Wisconsin, to visit a district that presented its approach to early childhood education at ISTE, supporting the claim that, yes, a kindergartner can learn to code.
So, what does developing computational skills at the elementary level look like?
No screens (?!)
If you think teaching STEM without screens sounds counterintuitive, you’re not alone. When I arrived at West Bend, I expected to see kids at desks, staring at computers as they played coding games. Not so.
“Every child, whether they’re literate or not, can code, if you think about it.”
Renee Wilberg, Fair Park Elementary teacher
In the first classroom we visited, the second graders split into small groups to program robots, which traced shapes taped to the floor. What I expected to see occurring on screens was happening in real life all around me. Dash the robot turned, flashed, and drove around the room—programmed by second graders.