Why We Teach Coding in our Junior School

Posted on 03rd May 2022 in ESMS, The Junior School

In an increasingly digitised world, coding and computational thinking are fundamental skills alongside reading and mathematics. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), technology is expected to transform almost one-third of all jobs worldwide within the next decade to meet the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Yet, the latest Scottish Government statistics show that in Scotland in 2020, only 1.4% of all school pupils studied computer science, which is down a huge 34.8% since 2001. At ESMS, we are a sector-leading school in educational technology, and we believe in teaching coding and computational thinking from day one.

In the Nursery, we introduce our children to exciting technology such as remote-control toys, Beebots and Codeapillars.

Using the Codeapillar in our Nursery

As well as using technology, the children also take part in “unplugged” activities. These involve the children being able to identify a problem, break the problem down into steps and then plan a solution. We want the children to enjoy developing confidence in problem-solving, logic, planning, teamwork, storytelling, and perseverance, which are skills that are vital for coding.

In the Junior School, the coding language we teach is block coding. Block coding is the most basic form of computer programming and is fantastic for beginners. Rather than needing to learn a new language, children can simply use visual instruction blocks which can be dragged and dropped to create anything from digital animations to games. However, learning block coding still helps to develop all of the same computational thinking skills!

Coding a 3D Jacobite Battle Scene Using Block Coding

Throughout ESMS Junior School, physical resources such as Probots and Crumble Kits are also used to help pupils understand how developing their ability to code can help them to control their environment and dream up their own design solutions. For example, as part of their electricity topic, Primary 4 created electronic circuits to program their own Christmas lights using a Crumble Kit!

Primary 4 Program Christmas Lights with Crumble Kit

In addition to learning about coding and all of the exciting things that can be created with it, the children also develop an understanding of the influence and use of codes in the world around them. This includes learning about how algorithms can be designed to target particular people with relevant advertisements and how hackers can use programs to access information. These lessons encourage children to be responsible and critical in their use of technology and allow them to consider ways in which they can take preventative measures to keep themselves and their information safe online.

With digital learning playing such a vital role in our school curriculum, pupils leave ESMS with a strong foundation that equips them to thrive in a digital world. We believe it is a privilege to help raise the next generation of programmers who we are certain will go on to create things that, in 2022, are only a figment of our imagination.

Stay up to date with school news by signing up to our E-Newsletter    Sign Up