Top 5 tips for introducing coding in Early Years
Sway Grantham, MAMA.codes’ primary curriculum advisor, offers her top five tips for introducing coding to Early Years children
When people ask how I’m teaching children under 5 how to code, often the main thing they want to know is ‘why?’. The Early Years is a time for children to learn through exploration: following their own interests and investigating what parts of the world they can have an influence on. Coding gives children the power to do just that, whilst being creative, using their communication and language skills and having lots of fun!
Where to focus when introducing coding in EYFS
The important thing to focus on here is that the code itself isn’t the outcome, you’re not looking for children under 5 to write an efficient program that includes repetition and variables. They might create a program that does this, but that’s not why they created it. The outcome is that children can take an idea from their imagination, a song or a story they love and make it come to life! All with a few simple steps.
When coding with young children, it’s always best to start offline – what do they like? What are their interests? Maybe they have a favourite song, story or joke that they want to create. Start here. Let’s think about the song ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ little star, after singing the song together we can talk about what we’d draw to do with the song, would we want something to move? Or to flash? These conversations open the children up to a wealth of conversations from articulating what they’re imagining to evaluating what they’ve achieved already and suggesting improvements that would make their creations even better.
ScratchJR is a great tool for introducing children to coding because they get to use such a wide range of skills. They can draw their own characters, backgrounds and ideas, record their own sound effects and voices as well as using the programming blocks to add animation.
Top Tips for introducing coding in EYFS
- Follow the children’s interests – singing, nonsense rhymes, jokes!
- Don’t focus on the coding – focus on the end result
- Spend time discussing what the children want to create
- Let the children personalise their projects, green cats? Why not!
- Combine, drawing, moving and making sounds to create your own programs.
Good luck on your coding journey!
Please reach out to us if you’d like any tips and advice on introducing coding in EYFS. Or better still grab a free trial of MAMA.codes teaching resources for EYFS and KS1.
- Sway Grantham is a primary school ICT Co-ordinator in Milton Keynes, UK. She shares resources and organises a range of networking events. More information at swaygrantham.co.uk