As the Founder and CEO of Whitehat Jr, Karan Bajaj knows many teachers are seeking ways to integrate computer science and programming into traditional learning modules.
Today, teachers and many parents also understand that some of the most impactful careers these days are centered on digital creation, everything from data analysis and game development to digital system development, cybersecurity, digital art and more.
And because children are so well-grounded and experienced in technology these days, why not put that experience to good use?
In other words, why not empower children with the skills to partake in creation – to make a sizable, even long-lasting impact not only on the field but on the world around them?
“Coding makes kids creators of technology versus consumers of it: Kids who code early – using blocks or syntax to produce infinite outcomes – go through a profound psychological shift,” says Bajaj. “They realize that everything in the world is an object created by someone and they can build it too, making them creators & builders for life.”
Karan Bajaj recognizes the connection between programming aptitude and an increase in conflict management and problem-solving skills.
But he also knows how transformative an early coding education can be for nurturing creativity, instilling confidence and building a better, more prosperous world for all.
Karan Bajaj: Skills Built and Refined through Early Coding Education
As Bajaj knows, traditional knowledge and skill are typically grown in the classroom, primarily through reading, practice, and repetition. This might include anything from math and science to history, civics and more.
Such knowledge is reinforced through methods such as book learning, rote memorization and strict classroom training.
But so-called “soft skills,” are a bit different. Soft skills like problem-solving, active listening and even empathy aren’t structurally taught through formal education, but learned through experience and interaction with others.
And as Karan Bajaj knows, early exposure to coding and coding instruction can provide a welcome boost in soft skill development, particularly when it comes to:
Children often develop sharpened critical thinking and reasoning skills while learning the essentials of programming.
The ability to approach problems from different angles – to observe, reflect, reason, and execute from different perspectives is key to success not only in coding, but also in managing complex issues through one’s daily life.
Why start early? According to 1992 NASA study, “Kids peak in creative potential at age 5, testing in the top 98th percentile of creativity. Subsequently, their creativity declines rapidly as rules crowd their thinking. At Age 10, they’re in the 30th percentile and at age 35, they’re in the bottom 2% of creativity.”
And because children typically reach their top creative height around age 5, the earlier they learn and interact with the fundamentals of programming, the better prepared they often are for the future.
Perseverance and Resolve
Learning to code comes with many trial-and-errors. And when children obtain such experience at an early age, they develop the perseverance needed to manage frustration and overcome the failures that so often damage confidence down the road.
Early coding instruction and interaction helps instill the patience and innate resoluteness many children need to push past obstacles and remain focused on objectives. Over time, this so-called “soft” skill can help strengthen the confidence and resilience needed to take on any given problem, no matter the size, shape or difficulty.
Children who face the challenges of coding early on learn not only that mistakes happen but that such mistakes often translate into opportunities for learning, growth and innovation.
In other words, children learn that when they persevere, they succeed. And as Karan Bajaj knows, facing challenges and preserving through adversity are essential skills to have throughout one’s life.
The various obstacles children face while coding tend to require a number of unique and enterprising solutions.
This resolve to seek answers often offers a valuable lesson in solving problems, demonstrating the importance of looking at complex issues by deconstructing and then analyzing them through different vantage points.
What’s more: the problem-solving skills strengthened through coding often translate into the hard skills needed to succeed in formal education. These may include anything from writing a concise essay and completing complex math problems.
Even other “soft” skills like conflict resolution and communication may be sharpened throughout the coding process.
When children understand that problems typically have more than one solution, they are less likely to be overwhelmed by pressures generally associated with the problem-solving process.
Courage To Expand Their Horizons
Coding is unlike any other classwork a child will undertake. It involves the use of logic to create a specific sequence of actions or decisions. And as Karan Bajaj knows, it takes some courage to write a computer program.
Coding classes tend to rely on a building-block approach that starts with small, simple programs and progresses to more intricate procedures. Such programs offer a great way to instill courage and develop the skills needed to tackle significant challenges.
Too often, children look at the whole picture when facing life challenges. But, when taught that problems can be overcome by breaking things down into smaller pieces, children develop the courage to tackle many of life’s more considerable challenges.
Lastly, Karan Bajaj knows that coding can help instill and grow a child’s creative potential. Even though many consider coding strictly computational, it often takes unique, even high-level creativity to solve programmatic problems and build intuitive code-based systems so vital to tech-driven systems around the world.
Much like conventional art forms or innovative problem-solving in other fields, coding demands creative, unique solutions to get around hurdles and optimize known processes.
With early coding education programs, children learn not only the value of creativity and experimentation, they also benefit from the constant challenges that demand it – experiences that heighten creative sensibility and open up new, exciting possibilities well into the future.
“I wanted kids everywhere to get that life-changing confidence of being a creator much earlier,” says Bajaj. “Coding for kids is about the sheer joy of creation, which is why I founded WhiteHat Jr. in the first place.”