Exposing children to computer programming from as early as age seven helps to teach them leadership, problem solving and creative thinking.

That is one of the findings shared by Ten Habitat founder Selwyn Cambridge, as he explained the concept of “Kids Who Code,” an after-school programme designed to assist children between the ages of 7 and 15.

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Selwyn Cambridge (right) explaining how the programme works to Colette Delany.

Cambridge was at the time disclosing details of the programme to officials from CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank as they presented funds to assist with the next segment of the programme which previously catered to 20 children. With this support from the bank, that number will be increased to 30, with the purchase of more computers for the lab.

The after-school course, which lasts for a full school term, uses game design to teach the skills required. Based on a given theme, the children have to produce coding to design their games. They therefore have to embark on research to produce the information for the game. They use research skills, creative writing and often have to work as a team, thus teaching them team building skills.

Cambridge explained, “when we gave them a game to design based on Caribbean mythology, we found that children who originally had no interest in Caribbean folklore, suddenly became interested in history. Others who had no interest in maths, found that they had to use maths to solve problems in the game, and they did it!”

He further reported that parents have testified to a renewed interest in learning, generally, as a result of their charges being involved in the programme.

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From left Debra King Head of Corporate Communications, Colette Delany, Selwyn Cambridge and Arlene Ross of Ten Habitat.

At present, there are children from both the newer and older secondary schools enrolled in the paid programme but with the assistance of the bank, Ten Habitat will now be able to offer scholarships and increase the number of children exposed to this method of learning.

Cambridge said that in order to create a competitive workforce, it was necessary to change the way of learning and technology helps them to change the way they learn.

Colette Delaney Chief Executive Officer, CIBC FirstCaribbean, on signing the agreement, agreed that in order to build the required skill sets, it was necessary to embrace technology. She said the bank was happy to reach out to the community to help the children with the technology.

Ms. Delaney added the bank was also involved in a cybersecurity programme within the primary and secondary schools that distributes online safety kits, and conducts seminars that help children to examine issues such as privacy, safe posting and teaches them to recognise cyber-bullying and how to deal with it.

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