Want to know what China's latest craze in Education is?
Apparently, it's a growing trend in Asia... yes, in Singapore too. Find out what it is now...
In China earlier this year, Wu Pei started teaching her son — only six years old — how to code.
Her thinking behind this move? That he’d enjoy learning a skill that is likely to give him more scope when looking for jobs as an adult.
Now, according to Bloomberg Business, this mum is running coding classes for preschoolers in Nanjing, China, and is currently helping more than 100 parents introduce their children to coding.
Wu Pei, who is a former computer programmer with Foxconn Technology Group, is cleverly tapping an increasing demand from parents keen on getting their preschoolers reader for a future-world.
In this world, researchers predict that “half the jobs in some countries may be eliminated by robots and computers.”
Learning coding through games
Wu reportedly put a lot of thought into how she could introduce the fundamentals of coding to preschoolers — who are only just starting to learn math and Chinese — in a way they could understand.
She decided to show them a 3-by-3 unit grid on a board and encouraged them to play a game where the kids were asked to identify locations using simple directions, such as up, down, right and left.
Next, Wu “switched to a number system and asked the children to pinpoint locations using coordinates.”
Finally, when the little ones are familiar with the concept of an X and Y axis, she teaches them to play simple games involving airplanes on a programme called Scratch.
This project developed by the MIT Media Lab and Arduino, lets users create interactive objects such as robots. You can download it for free by clicking this link.
From here on, they are encouraged to learn how to create similar games themselves. “Usually, you need a game to get them interested, and then introduce new concepts,” Wu said.
Reports say that Nanjing mother Zhang Minyan began encouraging her five-year-old daughter to learn coding from Wu “after watching a video of an American child who wrote an app for friends so they could share their views on Canadian singer Justin Bieber”, she said. Before that, Zhang hadn’t thought it was necessary for children to learn.
A growing trend
Else where in China, the trend is growing. Reportedly, Reynold Ren has taught about 150 primary school-age children in Beijing to use Scratch.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, about 2,500 students have taken courses that Michelle Sun runs at her First Code Academy.
And much closer to home, in Singapore, news reports say more and more parents are signing up their kids for coding classes, including holiday bootcamps and workshops.
So parents, what do you think? Coding classes for preschoolers, yes or no? Vote below!