Why Every Child Should Learn To Code

Have you ever wondered why we teach our children to read, write, ride bikes, play musical instruments, or swim at such an early age? Probably not. After all, it’s commonly accepted that these are important or necessary skills that will help children throughout their lives. Furthermore, we all know how quickly young kids pick up new skills. So it makes sense that if a skill is important for your child’s future, you should help them learn it as early as possible, right?

So why aren’t we teaching our kids to code?

This may sound like a silly question. After all, many people of our generation consider coding to be a niche skill, only important if you want a career in IT. But, in the coming decades, digital literacy will become one of the most sought-after skills in the job market. Last year LinkedIn’s list of top 10 most important career skills included data analysis, web development, mobile development, SEO marketing, information security and user interface design. And, with the rise of automation, these skills are going to become even more vital to your child’s ability to secure a stable and rewarding career. Simply put, now is the perfect time to start teaching our kids to code.

As Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, writes: “In fifteen years, we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing… and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner.” So why wait?

What Are The Benefits Of Teaching Your Child To Code?

Aside from just improving your child’s future job prospect, the development of digital literacy offers a number of other benefits. Kids who learn to code at an early age also develop the following skills:

  • Logical thinking – coding requires students to use logical thinking to solve problems
  • Creativity – student are required to come up with unique solutions to achieve a goal
  • Mathematics – coding offers a chance to apply mathematical concepts to concrete situations
  • Perseverance – the ability to persevere when faced with unexpected or difficult situations in central to coding
  • Communication – coding is the language of the 21st century, and allows students to to interact with the world around them
  • Responsibility – the sooner students learn how to safely navigate the internet, and the more aware they are of the risks or online spaces, the more secure and responsible they will be

What Can We Do To Help?

Despite the innumerable benefits of teaching kids to code, the Australian education system is still taking its time to catch up. In Victoria, coding is often only taught at a high school level, and then often only as an elective subject. So what do you do if you want to give your child a leg up?

That’s where we come in! We have created Yellow Brick Code, a fun, interactive school holiday program to be run during the upcoming September school holidays. It is designed to introduce students aged 5-8 to the exciting world of computer science, while giving them the opportunity to meet some wonderful new friends over their school holiday break! Over 3 days, your child will learn skills in algorithmic thinking, programming and creative expression through stories, videos, hands on physical activities, games, fun programming challenges, and a group of colourful characters like Kieran the code block.

So, if you want to give your child an invaluable first step into the world of coding and digital literacy, as well as a fun and engaging way to spend their school holidays, check out Yellow Brick Code today!

 

Questions To Ask Yourself If Your Child Is Considering Sitting A Selective Schools Exam

Over the past few years, we have worked with countless students and parents to help them prepare for the Selective Schools Exam. Successfully gaining a place within a Selective School is obviously a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that can have a phenomenal impact on the educational possibilities of the lucky students who are selected. That said, with all the pressure surrounding Selective Schools, it is often easy to forget that Selective Schools are, quite simply, not the best choice for every child. While Spectrum Tuition obviously encourages all of our students to strive for their potential, we also think it’s important that parents and students give serious consideration to the difficulties that come with applying for, and even receiving a place in, a Selective School. In that spirit, here are four questions you should ask yourself if your child is considering sitting a Selective Schools Exam.

 

Does My Child Thrive In Competitive Environments?

For a lot of students, attending a Selective School can come as a crude shock. When they start, most Selective School students are used to being top of their class, and have generally found their schoolwork easy. However, once they start attending a Selective School, they suddenly find themselves surrounded by other extremely talented and motivated students. As a result, Selective Schools are often very competitive environments. Some students respond well to such environments; competition motivates them to work harder. However, some students can be demotivated. It’s worth considering how your child responds to challenges before you sign them up for a Selective Schools Exam.

 

How Far Will My Child Have To Travel To Attend A Selective School?

The other things to consider is practicality. If your child does get selected to attend Melbourne High School, Suzanne Cory or Mac Rob, how far will they have to travel? This may sounds like a silly question, but an extra hour or two of commute time each day can have a dramatic impact on your child’s ability to do their homework, participate in extracurricular activities and get a good night’s sleep.

 

Is My Child Ready For The Pressure Of A Selective Schools Exam?

Finally, you should also consider whether your child is ready for the pressures of a Selective Schools Exam. Students who sit the Selective Schools Exam have to tackle one of the most complex and competitive challenges ever faced by a high school student. The exam requires students to write essays and narratives under extremely strict times limits, tackle complex logical problems, and demonstrate a familiarity with mathematical concepts that are often not taught until later years. While the exam presents an opportunity for talented and committed students, it can also be a very stressful obstacle.

This is not to say that we mean to discourage students from sitting the Selective Schools Exam; on the contrary, we at Spectrum Tuition believe that all students deserve the chance to pursue their goals. But we also think that it’s important for people to go into these exams as informed as possible about the challenges that lay ahead. If you would like to have a conversation about whether the Selective Schools Exam is right for your child, or if you would like to know more about how you can help your child prepare for this exam, feel free to email us at enquiries@spectrumtuition.com or call us free on 1800 668 177.

Why Strong Readers Are Not Necessarily Strong Writers

There is a very common misconception that students who read a lot will automatically become good writers. On the surface level, it makes sense. After all, reading extensively allows students to develop a large vocabulary, appreciate different perspectives and gain an understanding of how different texts are structured. As with any skill, the first step towards becoming proficient is to watch a professional at work.

On the other hand, nobody learns to drive a car by watching their mum drive; nobody learns how to shoot baskets by watching basketball on television; and nobody learns how to bake a perfect souffle by just reading recipe books. In all these situations, practise is the key. While this all seems obvious, to be a strong English student, people often forget the importance of practising writing. Like any skill, writing requires constant practise. Here are some skills that you can only get from practising writing…

1. Practising writing builds muscle memory

Students often forget that writing is not just a mental task; it is a physical one as well. When students sit their VCE exams, or if they sit a Selective Schools or Scholarship test, they are required to write long, well thought out essays or creative narratives under a strict time limit. Quite often, under these situations, students’ hands get tired before their brains do. Students who haven’t practised writing essays or narratives on a regular basis will find it hard to write quickly enough, or for long enough, to get all of their great ideas on the page. On the other hand, students who recognise that writing (like all tasks) needs practise, are much more likely to have the physical and mental skills they need to succeed.

2. Learning to read and learning to write are two completely different skills

Reading is obviously a wonderful skill for building imagination in students; but it is, in the end, largely a passive activity. When you are learning to read for the first time, you need to recognise the shapes of letters and words and decode them using your knowledge of sounds and phonics. Then when you have built up the required skills to read a story, you get to sit back and let the author take you on a journey.

When it’s your turn to do the writing, suddenly your job becomes a lot more difficult. How do you even start? What is the right word to use to communicate the right message? How can you grab and maintain your reader’s attention? How do you conclude in a satisfactory way? What about grammar/ spelling/ punctuation? You’re given an empty page that you’re supposed to fill with ideas. This can be incredibly stressful, and many students face writer’s block as a result. Learning specific writing skills and practising writing is a good way to get better at generating your own ideas, so you can succeed every time. The more you practise, the less intimidating the empty page will look, and the more techniques you will learn for generating ideas in order to become a successful writer.

3. Practising writing demystifies the art of writing

Have you ever read a great essay or a great story and thought, “How on Earth did they do that?” It’s a common experience, and it’s part of the fun of reading. When we read good writing, we’re not necessarily trying to figure out how the author is doing what they’re doing, we’re just enjoying their work. This is one of the reasons why it’s not enough to just read extensively if you want to learn to write well. Put simply: reading good writing doesn’t teach you how to be a good writer yourself. On the other hand, when you practise writing regularly, you start to notice the patterns, the little tricks that you can use again and again to make your writing successful. Practising writing allows you to look behind the curtain and seeing the mechanisms that make up a successful piece of writing.

Of course, practising is hard. And it’s not the kind of thing you can just do without guidance. That’s where we come in. If you or your child wants more guidance on how to practise their writing, feel free to email us at enquiries@spectrumtuition.com or call us on 1800 668 177 to book a free assessment. Alternatively, you can book online by clicking here.

If your child is preparing for a Scholarship or Selective Schools Exam, you might also want to check out our custom Writing Bundle. This bundle contains our best selling persuasive essay book and narrative book.  After reading these books your child will have the skills required to write a compelling and well structured narrative and persuasive essay!