Listen Up Creative

5 ways to empower girls and help them learn to code

On International Day of the Girl, KidzToPros celebrates the girls of the world and their limitless potential! The International Day of the Girl was declared by the United Nations to bring attention to the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment. It has been celebrated annually on Oct. 11 since 2012. 

“Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers posed by stereotypes and exclusion,” the United Nations writes in recognition of the day. “As entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements, girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations.” 

The United Nations has created a list of goals to achieve by 2030 as a roadmap for progress, and achieving women’s empowerment “is integral to each of the goals.” 

At KidzToPros, we believe that one of the best ways we can empower girls is to prepare them for the jobs of the future. According to the 2020 Jobs of Tomorrow report from the World Economic Forum, four of the seven fastest-growing career clusters involve computer science, data analysis, engineering and cloud computing. Hiring managers will be looking for technical skills when hiring for those jobs, so let’s give our girls a head start by helping them learn to code as early as possible. 

Even if a girl isn’t interested in a career in computer science or engineering, coding skills can be applied to other careers and other aspects of life. Coding teaches students to think in a different way and view the world more critically. It also requires an abundance of attention to detail, which many employers say is lacking in today’s jobseekers. 

The number of jobs that require some coding knowledge is expected to grow exponentially as we see more AI-powered robots and programs becoming a core part of many different industries. 

In celebration of International Day of the Girl, here are 5 ways you can empower the girls in your life to learn to code. 

1. Provide hands-on learning opportunities 

Introducing children to STEM learning can start as soon as they are toddlers playing with their first block set. The wooden blocks help encourage problem-solving skills and creative thinking — the possibilities of things to build is virtually endless. 

When the next birthday or holiday rolls around, consider buying a young girl in your life a toy that develops STEM skills. Amazon has a category devoted to STEM learning toys, which can be filtered based on age, price and ratings. 

2. Ask for help around the house 

The next time your Internet router needs reset or a wire wiggled loose on your television, consider asking your daughter to help fix it. They’ll need to practice problem-solving to complete the task, and the fact that you asked for help will build their confidence and sense of self-worth. 

Bonus: If you are a coder yourself, invite your daughter to keep you company while you finish up a few work projects. Letting her see what a job in STEM looks like will broaden her horizon. 

3. Ask your school to add coding classes or offer to lead a coding club 

Although computer science is a driving force in the U.S. economy and accounts for much of the future job growth, the subject remains marginalized in public education systems — especially in the younger grades. 

Now that most schools across the country have invested in 1:1 technology programs that provide computers for every student, the infrastructure is already in place to introduce coding in the classroom. 

KidzToPros has created ready-to-use curriculum that is teacher-trusted and easy to implement. If your school does not seem receptive to adding coding to the curriculum, you could offer to start an after-school coding club. Girls Who Code is one already existing network of clubs that allows girls to explore coding in a fun and friendly environment. 

Not only do girls learn the technical skills, but they’re also exposed to positive female role models with coding experience. Girls Who Code clubs are free to start and are targeted to girls in Grades 3-12. 

4. Spend time on the computer together 

This may seem counterintuitive to most advice that urges parents to get their kids outside and active, but the Internet can be a wonderful tool to help empower girls. 

Spend an hour or two in the evening or on weekends exploring free games and programs that teach coding in a fun and approachable way. Listed below are a few of the most popular free coding websites for kids: CodeMonkey: Move a monkey around the screen using code to fetch all the bananas stolen by a gorilla. 

The code used by the game, called Coffee Script, is in compliance with Javascript and is presented in a simple manner. The game includes 250 free challenges. ScratchJr: With this simple programming language, children can snap colorful blocks together to make characters move, run and sing. Scratch uses the same principles as any other coding language, but is fun for kids. 

Not only does ScratchJr provide a coding foundation, it allows young children to express themselves creatively. (KidzToPros offers several Scratch coding courses. An instructor will lead a small group through Scratch to improve their coding skills, creativity, reasoning and problem-solving.) 

5. Sign up for a KidzToPros Online Coding & Game Design Course 

KidzToPros offers one- and two-week Online Coding & Game Design programs. The project-based curriculum helps children reach proficiency in popular design and coding software. The programs prepare kids for high-demand careers by engaging them with fun and accessible projects like games, apps and robots. Courses are available for students in Grades 2-3, Grades 4-5 and Grades 6-12. 

The lineup of courses offers popular programs like Minecraft, Roblox, Python, Java, Web Design and Digital 3D modeling. The online courses are limited to 5 students each, which allows each student to receive personalized attention while also learning collaboration and teamwork skills. 

Learn more and enroll in a course today on the KidzToPros website.

Oct 10, 2020