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Computational Thinking for Young Learners

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Computational_Thinking

Purposeful introduction of computational thinking during early education can be applied throughout our lives to incredible effect, Shalini Jaiswal, Director – Academic, Training & Teacher Education, Maple Bear South Asia, for Elets News Network (ENN).

Shalini_Jaiswal

Shalini Jaiswal, Director – Academic, Training & Teacher Education, Maple Bear South Asia

Jean Piaget is one of the most influential figures in cognitive psychology and best known for his descriptions of children’s cognitive development. His work led to a paradigm shift in education. He fostered the more enlightened view that children think differently than adults and that they need the opportunity to construct their own. They have creative minds that allow them to think outside of the box.

Why teach ‘Computational’ Thinking to young children?

Computational thinking is a way of thinking that lets us break down big, complex problems into smaller ones, thinking one step at a time. At the early childhood education level, it helps children to be articulate and think logically: when they start breaking down what’s happening, they can start predicting what’s going to happen. It helps them start thinking in a manner where they are able to find multiple approaches to problem-solving and then identify the approach that best fits the solution. Computational thinking enables children to think laterally when faced with a problem. Skills supported by computational thinking, include:

  • Confidence in dealing with complexity
  • Persistence in working with difficult problems
  • Tolerance for ambiguity (crafting viable solutions in the absence of a step-by-step guide)
  • The ability to deal with open ended problems
  • The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution

It is for these reasons that computational thinking has forged a reputation as a powerful universal problem-solving technique: not just in prepping young learners for coding, but also in helping them navigate the world at large.

Maple Bear South Asia has become the first to introduce Computational Thinking at the preschool level across its schools in the region.

Looking ahead

Introducing children to the concept of computational thinking develops their problem-solving skills, encourages collaboration and nurtures children’s creativity. As an unbelievably valuable thinking tool – perhaps the thinking tool of the 21st century – and one that can be applied throughout our lives to incredible effect, it’s time we give it a thought!

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