So your child is starting to learn how to code, and you don’t even know what the word programming means?
Relax! You’re not alone. For the very first time, children are studying a subject at school that their parents didn’t.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved.
We’ve already debugged the computing curriculum, so now here are our top tips to help your child have fun learning about computing.
1. Get talking
The best and easiest way to support your child through the computing curriculum is simply to show an interest.
Just as you chat to your child when they come home about what they’ve been reading, writing, drawing and discussing at school, you can also talk to them about computing and coding.
Don’t shy away from discussing programming just because you’re not an expert. On the contrary, your child will most likely be delighted to teach you a thing or two!
2. Learn the basics
Don’t let unfamiliar words like ‘programming’ and ‘coding’ put you off trying to help with computing. Most terms are really easy to understand, and once you’ve cracked the jargon, you’re more likely to be able to support your child.
There are lots of great resources online to help get you up to speed too. Make sure you check out CAS (Computing at School) for free access to relevant learning material, forums and events.
3. Talk to educators
It might be helpful to ask your child’s teacher what they’re doing with the curriculum and gain an insight into how it’s being taught.
As with every subject, the more you understand about the content in the classroom, the more you’ll be able to contribute outside of school hours.
Remember that teachers have also had to adapt to a new and unfamiliar curriculum, and will be able to share their own advice, resources and materials, to help you support your child.
4. Prioritise computing
It’s tempting to think of computing as less important as traditional subjects. But in reality, the vast majority of jobs in the future will require a confident knowledge of technology, if they don’t already.
With this in mind, make sure you devote as much time to helping with the computing syllabus as you would to any other.
5. Get involved
Encourage your child to engage in relevant extra-curricular activities. Check to see if you have a local coding club, as these can be really useful and fun ways for children to learn, and enables them to put their computing lessons into practice.
Code Club runs free after school coding clubs throughout the UK, and there are loads of others, like CoderDojo and Fire Tech Camp.
There are even new computing shows on CBBC, like Appsolute Genius and Technobabble, that you can watch with your child to inspire them even further.