Code in the Community: join kids and adults who tinker with code
Learn coding: catch the spark
CITC is a large-scale programme run by Saturday Kids and supported by Google and IMDA. It offers free coding lessons to children from disadvantaged backgroundswho may not be able to afford to attend these classes commercially. In the past three years, some 2,300 children have attended their Scratch (block-based programming) or Python (text-based programming) classes.
“Getting kids to learn coding is not about training them to become future programmers. It’s what they learnt in the process,” shared Yeehui Tan, who manages volunteer outreach for the programme.
In each lesson, instructors introduce computing concepts such as loops, conditionals or lists. Kids then use these tools to create algorithms, or step-by-step instructions, to build a little project. During the last lesson, they share their projects with their course-mates, instructors and curious parents who are eagerto see what their children have learnt.
During the process, CITC focusses on creativity, critical thinking, digital literacy, and life skills such as resilience (“what shall I do when my code doesn’t work?”) and confidence (“how to overcome nail-biting moments when presenting my project?”). Still, the team is often amazed by the creativity of the projects churned out.
Among the games, stories, animations and music videos created, a few projects stand out for Shreya Bhat, who manages student outreach for CITC. “One student used Python to create a translation programme involving 10 languages! The younger ones used Scratch to create a haunted house and a Super Mario game. These kids were truly amazing.”
Teach coding: light the fire
At the core of CITC is a team of volunteers who give their time and energy on weekends to run the classes on the ground. More than 1,000 volunteers from all walks of life, including professionals, NSmen, tertiary students and homemakers have served as instructors and assistant instructors in the programme.
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