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Code Champions: Empowering Kids in Our Online Coding Program

Published on March 15, 2024 | Posted in  

Parents enroll their children in after-school programs for two main reasons. They want them to learn something important that they’ll use later, in life or their careers. But more than that, they want them to have fun and enjoy their childhoods.

In over twenty years of teaching kids to code, RP4K has found that these two things are deeply connected. Fun is the underlying motivator that drives kids to become coding champions, improve their skills, and turn their imagination into things like video games that they can play with friends and family.

Let’s take a closer look at how it works.

Video Games at the Core

RP4K prioritizes fun above all. We’re determined to teach your children all about coding, but ensuring they enjoy the sessions is paramount. To this end, we put video games at the heart of our courses.

Even kids in their first coding class work towards creating a video game, one that recalls Pac-Man. Kids get hungry to learn when the goal is so enticing. They want to complete the game so they can show it off after.

RP4K also embeds gamification dynamics into our classes, harnessing the dynamics that make playing video games so engaging for learning purposes. If you’ve ever watched your kids play video games and wished they were that drawn to studying, you understand how powerful gamification can be. Kids become coding champions when they have a strong, natural drive toward learning.

Vital Coding Languages

You can’t be a programming champ unless you can write code in the popular languages that employers expect their hires to know. Even if kids don’t grow up to become professional programmers, there are certain bedrock coding languages people commonly use to build their own websites and apps.

RP4K is proud to teach the following coding languages in our online coding program:

  • Python
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • C++

A child who has never written a line of code in their life can waltz into their first class and start on Python before gradually growing and improving their skills. When they’re ready, they can advance to the next language.

RP4K emphasizes real coding languages professionals use daily in their jobs rather than drag-and-drop programs like Scratch, which is really designed to give beginners a sense of what coding is like. Learning a coding language is much like learning any other language; they each have their own rules and syntax. Arming coders with the ability to write code in multiple languages prepares them for the workforce of the future while also giving them the necessary skills to forge their own trail.

The important thing is that kids are always stimulated and excited about what language they’re learning but never overwhelmed. We will carefully measure coding progress before letting them advance to the next level. RP4K turns kids into coding champs by putting the right material on their plate, given their level of skill and experience, as this naturally excites their desire to learn.

Small Classes

Many online coding courses for kids promise to give kids fundamental programming knowledge they’ll need in our digital world, but they’re usually packed with too many students per teacher. RP4K limits our class sizes, ensuring every session is orderly and that every student gets the support they need.

Kids shouldn’t have to struggle to be heard or deal with unruly classes that can occur when there are too many students for the teacher to handle. RP4K limits every class to a maximum of four students, so your child will be with a maximum of three others.

We’ve found that it’s much easier for kids and teens to learn to code in a small class setting. Kids always feel like they have their teacher’s full attention. Parents will also appreciate that there’s no mandatory minimum. You’ll know the class will run as scheduled when you book it, even if your child is the only student.

Young Teachers

It’s vital that today’s students learn to code video games from teachers who are young enough to have also grown up playing computer games at home. Teenagers learning to program and wondering where coding skills can take them after school will also benefit from speaking to people currently navigating this job market.

In both cases, computer engineering and computer science undergrads are the perfect people to teach, and that’s who we hire. Knowing what playing video games as a kid feels like is vital. Video game nostalgia is practically an industry now because games have always been at the centre of childhood, and in modern life, video games dominate.

multiple computer screens on a table, with lines of code on them

When one generation of gamers teaches the next, they relay the baton down the line. Teachers lacking that first-hand experience with home video games can’t really pass down this intangible quality.

Real Math

Kids need to have a lot of fun in our sessions, but to be coding champions, they also need to walk away with some really important fundamental knowledge. That’s why RP4K embeds real math concepts into all our classes.

Young kids will learn foundational math concepts, like integers, vectors, and even trigonometry. At the higher levels, teenage coding students will encounter math concepts they won’t find in class until university.

Our founder, Elliott, has an M.Sc. and has taught kids math for many years. Every coding class has a hidden math lesson inside, even if the kids have too much fun to notice! To take things up a notch, Elliott himself designed an elite-level course in 2020 called “Math and Physics for Video Game Programmers.”

A child can be totally new to coding and math or have considerable experience in both. Either way, RP4K classes are going to help them develop new skills in each area.

Thankfully, there’s no conflict between ensuring kids enjoy our programming classes and turning into coding champions! It takes time and lots of work to build these skills gradually, but kids turn into coding champs when the sessions are fused with fun in a supportive environment overseen by knowledgeable and caring teachers.  

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