kid coding

Expats’ Guide to Programming Classes for Kids in Northern California  

When global mobility managers recruit expats, what else do they think about? The families and kids they’re bringing with them in Northern California–and how these kids are going to adjust to their new environment. It’d be easy to think kids will find some solace and comfort with their mobile devices, but it would be the wrong approach given the many options for kids to learn while having fun.

Global mobility managers need to tell the assignees — the parents — that their move to Silicon Valley may just be a great opportunity for them to do something special for their kids. This is important because it’s not easy for kids in Northern California to meet other kids when the next house could be a mile away in San Jose or a steep uphill climb in San Francisco City.

Assignees could take their kids to coding schools or special tech labs where hardware and software interact. The Bay Area has them for kids and adults with TechShop.  

Being in a new place is good to start something new. Right now, most kids are glued to their mobile screens. And it looks like the problem is going to get worse —  or younger — before it gets better. In last year’s report by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, children 8 years and younger spent 48 minutes a day more than they did in 2013, which was a middling 15 minutes a day.  The nonprofit organization is focused on helping children, parents, and educators navigate the world of media and technology.

But there are ways to teach them early about the productive ways of using the internet–and the earlier they are exposed to it the better. It means going back to the traditional way of having them interact with other kids— by playing with them, only this time it involves joining computer programming class.

Learning to program will help kids learn how to complete tasks and develop critical thinking skills. Here is a directory for Bay Area parents. Another good starting point is Parents can also check out these schools: Black Girls Code, Breakout Mentors, EDMO, Code for Fun,  Code Now, CoderDojo, Code Fu, The Coder School, Code Rev, Digital Media Academy, Girls Who Code, iD Tech Camps, Learning to Discover, MV Code Club, Startup Wonder, TechKnowHow, Tech Rocks, Techsplosion, VisionTech Education, Whizkidz and YoungWonks.

With programming jobs growing 50 percent than the job market overall, children can start to learn early. Coding skills pay $84,000 on average annually – $22,000 more than the average wage of non-coding professional jobs.

Even better, kids need not go too far if they stay long in the Bay Area. It has the highest number of tech jobs in the country and the best schools to help them become software engineers later.

In selecting a camp or school, parents will want to consider all the variables–tuition, equipment quality, class size, and curriculum. They also have to find out the teachers’ background and skill in teaching their kids properly. The right teacher makes all the difference in their formative years.

The challenge for foreign expats is how to navigate the more tolerant approach to parenting in the United States. How does one impose a limit to a child’s use of their mobile devices? In many cases, parents feel helpless and admit to not knowing how to supervise their kids’ use of mobile devices;  sometimes they are are too busy to find out what their kids do online. It should not be the case.

Many programming classes in the San Francisco Bay Area are curated for various ages, which would be good for those suffering from various online addictions.

In a study that was published in the journal Developmental Psychology, those who were ages 8 to 11 and who had their own TV or video games in their bedrooms were tied to lower grades in school. Those with bedroom media were likely to be exposed to more media violence and tended to act more aggressively than children with no bedroom media.

For ages 14 to 17, 19 percent of parents in the Common Sense Media report named Snapchat as the app they were most concerned about.  Teens like Snapchat because of its visual nature and one-to-one messaging capability.  

No matter how old they are in their early formative years, there is a camp or school to help them learn to use mobile devices in a productive way. There are also coding classes online but with so many choices for your kids to be with other kids face to face, it’s better if they can interact with other kids to develop their social skills as well.