Code Champions is an after-school programme bringing computer coding to school students.
Courses run each term and teach computer programming, starting with the basic elements and moving to more complex skills as required. Lessons combine instruction with hands-on activity.
Classes are small and grouped by age/ability. The sessions are 55 minutes in length and a computer is provided for use during class time.
Computer coding is one of the most important digital skills to have in today’s hi-tech world. Combine this with the fact that schools are starting to implement a Digital Curriculum and it means coding is now part of modern learning.
Whether your daughter or son is interested in computer coding or you just want to give them a head start in their studies, is new to coding or has some experience, Code Champions is for you. We run after-school classes teaching computer programming. We host courses at schools and aim to introduce students to the basic principles of coding and computational thinking.
Our philosophy for learning coding
Computer coding is complex. From multiple languages to multiple uses, there is no single way to code. Our aim is to introduce and expose students to some of the basic principles of programming and draw on a number of activities to illustrate and practise coding techniques.
We work to help kids understand the computational thinking and processes involved, and give them the knowledge and confidence to tackle and solve the coding challenges they face. We also encourage students to continue their exploration away from the class, whether working on things we’ve given them or their own coding projects.
Our answers to frequently asked questions from parents about coding
- What coding language are you teaching? Currently, we are focusing on the Python programming language. Please see What is Python and why do we use it?
- Why isn’t my child moving up a class? Classes are always based on the students we have joining us during a term. As we only run two – sometimes three – classes, there are limitations. We place students in groups that we believe with best suit their age and ability. Usually, we would expect students to stay in the same group for multiple terms, developing their skills and collaborating with those of similar coding abilities. Whether they move classes or not is often a reflection of the group as a whole.
- What did my child learn in today’s class? While our tutors may well introduce new skills, ideas, techniques or activities in a specific lesson, learning to code is a gradual process. You probably wouldn’t ask your netball or football coach, music or language teacher what skill was learned in a training session or lesson as they probably did a range of things, and repeat them over and over. It’s the same for coding. Skills are learned and practised over several classes. Ask us at the end of the term or year, but don’t expect significant advances each and every lesson.
- Do you teach the same coding as they learn in school? While there may be some overlap, we aim to complement what’s taught in schools (so we keep a close eye on what they’re doing). The last thing we want to do is repeat the same old thing, which is not only unproductive but boring, as well.
- What will my child work towards achieving? Overall, the aim is to expose students to a range of coding experiences and develop the confidence and skills to face whatever coding challenges come their way. There’s no exam or test or qualification at the end. However, each term, they complete projects, perhaps building a game or solving a puzzle.
- How can we help our child’s coding? We always encourage students to continue their coding away from class – we are always happy to point you in the direction of resources and activities. Show an interest, support what they’re doing and encourage them to code as much as possible.
Continuing to grow
Code Champions began as an idea and a parent-led trial in late 2016. The following year, we launched courses at Saint Kentigern Boys’ School and Churchill Park School. In 2018, we expanded to host sessions at several more schools, as well as adding Secondary students to our classes: St Heliers School; Kohimarama School; Meadowbank School; Parnell District School; Mt Eden Normal Primary School; Marist College; and Saint Kentigern College.
The COVID-19 severely restricted our activities and we had to reduce our programme and schools significantly. In mid 2022, we re-started coding classes at Saint Kentigern Boys’ School and we hope to continue growing again in 2023!
Code Champions is supported by INTERFACE, a monthly magazine supporting the use of e-learning in schools. More at interfaceonline.co.nz