In 2016 we started our company, then called Carlow Coding, and began teaching coding classes to children aged between 5 to 12 in the evenings from our base in Carlow. We started small, just running one class a week but quite quickly we realised we'd need to put on more classes as not only were new kids enrolling, kids that completed our classes wanted to come back and do more.
“Not only were new kids enrolling, kids that completed our classes wanted to come back and do more.”
Over time we started scheduling our classes into different age groups and then also by experience. We started creating lesson plans to suit kids depending on their age and the previous classes they had attended, and so the very first version of the Coding Curriculum was born!
In July 2017 we ran our first summer camps. As well as our established coding lessons using laptops we also introduced the kids to robots, automated cars, 3D printing, electric lego circuits and virtual reality.
Focusing on primary schools
Since 2016 we taught hundreds of children how to code and over that time we kept on being asked two questions:
- Do you run any after schools programmes?
- Do you provide any teacher training?
The answer to both these questions was "Sorry unfortunately we don't", but it got us thinking about how we could help schools start to teach coding. We always thought it was a great subject to teach kids and we saw first hand how excited and motivated they were.
So in late 2017 we started looking at what we could offer to primary schools and we began putting together a formal Coding Curriculum as well as teacher training materials to accompany it.
Primary Schools Pilot
In March 2018 we launched our Primary Schools Pilot where we provided teacher training and the Coding Curriculum to five schools.
- Ballon NS, Co. Carlow
- Tullow Boys NS, Co. Carlow
- Scoil Mhuire Howth NS, Co. Dublin
- Prosperous NS, Co. Kildare
- Redeemer NS, Co. Louth
The pilot allowed us to work closely with the schools as they used the Coding Curriculum and to see first hand what are the challenges with teaching coding in a primary school setting. We received great feedback from the schools and we've used this feedback to improve our Coding Curriculum and Teacher Training.