Coding: A Hot New Basic Skill Children Can Learn Young

DEAR TEACHER: Where can a child learn to code? — Searching

Answer: Learning to code is the hot new basic skill parents want their children to learn. You will find coding being taught in more and more schools, but it definitely is not being taught in all schools.

Parents certainly don’t need to wait for their children to begin learning to code. In fact, experts say it is like learning a second language. The earlier children start coding, the easier they will understand the basic concepts of coding. Your preschooler can start learning to code through a vast array of apps, toys and games.

Parents do need to investigate quite thoroughly to find the best ones. They can begin by searching online for “best coding toys.”

For reliable information on the best coding programs for a variety of ages, parents can visit CommonSenseMedia.org. Not only does the site have descriptions of a variety of apps and appropriate ages for them, it also lists books related to coding.

It definitely is not difficult to find coding instruction for children in elementary school and beyond. Since summer is just around the corner, many colleges are offering coding camps for children. Also, many places in your community will be offering coding and STEM skills summer programs, like your local YMCAs, churches, community colleges and retail stores. Plus, there are a tremendous number of online websites offering coding instruction. For beginners to coding, parents should look for programs that are easy and have really basic stuff to get their children into coding.

Question: I am going to apply to college using the Common Application. I was wondering what some of the other students using this application said on theirs. — Curious

Answer: The Common Application is a real timesaver. It lets students apply to more than 750 colleges on one form instead of applying individually to each college they might want to attend. Some of the colleges might want additional essays or information; however, it still remains the easiest way to apply to more than one college.

You are definitely not alone in using this application. More than a million other students will be using it to apply to college. Here are some things that you might like to know about students who have used this application in the past:

The average applicant will apply to 4.79 schools. Students in the South apply to the fewest schools, while those in New England apply to the most. Furthermore, close to 60 percent of the applicants intended to apply for need-based aid.

When asked to list their extracurricular activities, the average number for students was 5.5 activities. The greatest participation number was 17.9 percent for volunteer services. This was followed by 16 percent of the applicants listing junior and varsity sports. Other club activities were listed by 11.1 percent of the students, while 8.7 percent listed paid work. Only 6.5 percent mentioned academic activities.

Remember that the above figures are only averages. You are a unique applicant who may have more or less activities. And you certainly may have activities that are different from the more common ones.

Send questions and comments to Dear Teacher, in care of this newspaper, 1 North Illinois St. No. 2004, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or log on to www.dearteacher.com, or email DearTeacher@Dear Teacher.com.

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